Obituary: Gerald Dale Rude

Great-grandfather, longtime Claremont physician

Gerald Dale Rude died peacefully May 24 at his home in Claremont with his wife, Shirley, holding one hand and his grandson, Jeremy, holding the other hand.

Gerald was born in a hospital in Ambrose, North Dakota, to parents Leroy and Mabel Rude. He was raised in Colgan, North Dakota, population 15. Gerald had five siblings (all predeceased), including brothers Leroy Jr., Ronald, David, and Robert, and one sister, Betty Mae.

Even as a young child, he knew he wanted to go out into the world and make a difference. He took advantage of educational opportunities to expand his possibilities. When he wasn’t helping on the farm, he was reading. He read every single book that he could get his hands on. Eventually, his efforts allowed him to prematurely enroll in high school, from which he graduated when he was just 15 years old.

He attended a junior college in North Dakota, but unfortunately, his attendance was tragically cut short. One day while plowing the fields, the tractor he was driving inexplicitly exploded, and his entire body was set on fire. He lived, but his survival came at a price: he was bedridden for three months and did not make a full recovery for an entire year. During his rehabilitation he found his life’s passion and his chance to make a difference.

He continued his education at the University of North Dakota and later medical school. After graduating from Kansas University, he completed his internship at Kansas City General Hospital. There he met a bright and beautiful woman named, Shirley, who was a student nurse at the same hospital. They were married in August 1960. He was then drafted into the U.S. Air Force as a captain, serving as a medical doctor in Korea.

When he returned from active duty, the newlyweds moved to Claremont, where he would start his near 50 year career as a family practitioner and physician at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. There he served as president of physicians in 1988 and on other committees. He established his Claremont family practice in 1962, where he remained until his January 2012 retirement.

“Gerald had a strong sense of duty not only to his family but also to the community,” his family shared. “He firmly believed in education, being kind and generous, practicing his faith at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and keeping his family close. He was always there for his wife, kids, grandkids, extended family, friends, and patients. Both Shirley and Gerald were heavily involved in their church and community. Many Claremont residents will remember Christmas parties, ice cream socials, fundraisers, foster children, walks for the hungry, and other various community activities. His family will always cherish the love, support, commitment, integrity, honesty, and strength he shared unconditionally.”

He is survived by his wife of almost 64 years, Shirley Rude; daughter, Julie Piibe; son Greg Rude (Leslie Rude); daughter Pamela Dvorak; son Roger Rude (Kristin Rude); grandchildren Maxwell Rude, Cameron Rude (Kristina Rude), Quinn Piibe (Margaret Puissant), Jeremy Dvorak, Jacob Dvorak, Brian Piibe (Gail Piibe), Jonah Dvorak, Connor Rude, and Katherine Rude; and great-granddaughter Lennon Louise Rude. He was predeceased by son-in-law Remy Piibe and grandson Samuel Piibe.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Gerald Rude to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church memorial fund at, or by check to 1700 N. Towne Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.


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