Lester F. Rupp, the former owner of the Eden Cheese Factory, died Tuesday surrounded by his family in Mercy Hospital. He was 86.
Born in Eden, he graduated from Eden High School in 1940 and attended the University of Wisconsin.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he returned home in 1946 to become a partner with his father at the Eden Cheese Factory. His father, Fred, had learned cheesemaking in Switzerland as a boy.
Lester Rupp carried on the family tradition of making various cheeses, as well as importing other cheeses, Swiss candies and novelties, giving the store a distinct Old World flavor. He retired from the store in 1982.
During his business years, Mr. Rupp was a partner in Eden Town Development Co. He also was active in the Eden Chamber of Commerce, Eden Alumni Association and Eden Historical Society.
A lifelong member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, he served on the church board as president and secretary, and was Sunday school superintendent from 1964 to 1978.
Mr. Rupp enjoyed world travel, woodworking, stained-glass making and spending time with his family.
His wife of 41 years, Helen Baldauf Rupp, who was a soloist at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, died 1988.
Survivors include his companion, Pauline Roy-Magnan; two daughters, Jennifer Soule and Jane Gould-Badger; and a son, Jeffrey.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Paul's Lutheran Church, North Boston Road, Eden.