Jessie Ruple, of Dowagiac

Published 9:01 am Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Aug. 28, 1923 — Oct. 25, 2020

Jessie Mae Ruple, 97, of Dowagiac, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020.

A celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, at Clark Chapel, 405 Center St., in Dowagiac, with Chaplin Allison Brace officiating. Burial will follow at Mission Hills Memorial Gardens. Friends may visit with the family from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. Out of respect for the family and guests in attendance, masks and proper social distancing will be required. Memorial contributions may be made to Caring Circle Hospice, 4025 Health Park Lane, St. Joseph, MI, 49085. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Jessie was born on Aug. 28, 1923, to Francis and Etoile (Holder) McElheny in Rensselaer, Indiana.

On Jan. 29, 1949, she married the love of her life, Eldon “Rupe” Ruple. They were happily married for 37 years before his passing in 1986. Jessie and Eldon had a number of restaurants they owned together where Jessie would be the head cook. Their first restaurant was Rupe & Fitz, then R & J Hideout and finally Bishops, located in Sister Lakes. After retiring from the restaurant industry, Jessie worked as the Demo Lady at the former Felpausch Grocery Store. She was an avid member of Dowagiac’s First United Methodist Church, where she would help with dinners and other church activities. Known for her independence and hard work, Jessie was proudly tending to her own yard work until she was 94 years old. She also enjoyed sewing, making tree skirts and dolls, crafting and doing puzzles into her later years too. However, what Jessie loved the most in life was spending time with her family. She loved to host the family events and holiday gatherings at her house. Her kind heart, feisty spirit and wonderful humor will be missed truly by all who knew her. The family would like a special thanks to go to Lisa Malloy and the fantastic team of Caring Circle Hospice.

Jessie is survived by her children, Carol (Gary) Bronson, of Tyler, Texas, Terri Kennedy, of Mishawaka, and Cynthia (Donald) Checkley, of Dowagiac; grandchildren, Tristan (Joel) Preston, Megan (Andy) Lehman, Shawn (Tiffany) McLaughlin, Jared Bronson, Kyle Kennedy and Karly (Alex) Welch; great-grandchildren, Alainna and Mayson Preston, Emma and Maya McLaughlin, and Brody Welch; and brother, Robert (Thelma) McElheny.

Jessie was preceded in death by her parents, Francis and Etoile; husband, Eldon; and siblings, Hugh and John McElheny and Thelma McConnell.