On Sunday morning, Sept. 18, 2022, we learned that our dad Roger Rempert had “Flown West” to rejoin our mom Sandy Rempert.
He was staying with a friend near his home in beautiful SunBird, Ariz., while recuperating from a hip replacement surgery and slipped away in his sleep. He did not appear to be in any pain, but he was tired.
I spoke with him a few days earlier, and he told me, “I think I’m going to sell my hangar. There’s nothing in it except a boat I want to sell.” I think this was a very symbolic statement. His wings were clipped, his spirit was used up, he had nothing left to work on. I think he was ready to go.
Dad was excited to have his hip replaced so he could walk again without pain and be able to “make it back to Oshkosh next year.” His surgery had been scheduled to coincide with the Oshkosh fly-in this year but was postponed due to potential complications. While the surgery appears to have been a success, it apparently took a toll on his system that was overwhelming.
There are many things that come to mind when we think of Roger, but his love of his family, his love of flying, and his love of boating are things that stand out the most. It was hard to talk to Roger without aviation coming up in some way. It was truly ingrained in his soul. He was a natural pilot, and he loved aviation as much as anyone I’ve ever met. It was truly part of his identity and who he was. He never lost his touch. It just seemed to be in his blood.
It was also common to hear him praising his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was always quick to brag about how proud of us all he was, how he loved us, and how we were “The Best” at whatever endeavor or challenge we were taking on at the time. He often expressed how grateful he was to be blessed with such an amazing family. More than anything, he wanted us to be successful and happy.
Roger’s love of boating stretched throughout his lifetime, literally. Of all the toys, machines, projects, properties, and miscellaneous interests he had throughout the years, his final project was a boat. He loved boating as much as flying, in my opinion; so much so, he insisted on bringing a boat with him to the desert!
Roger is survived by his four children: Chris Duba, Randy Rempert, Vickie Andre, and Erich Rempert; along with 11 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Roger loved Arizona, and he loved SunBird, along with the many friends he and Sandy had made there throughout the years.
Here in Southeast Wisconsin, Sunday was forecast to be a cool, rainy day, but unexpectedly it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful summer day. I can’t help but believe this was my dad telling us, “It’s okay! I’m free! I’ve made it to Heaven! Don’t be sad. I’m not gone. I’ve just gone Home to be with old friends!
This evening, please watch the sunset, as Roger loved doing, and raise a glass to wish him farewell, for he has slipped the bonds of earth’s grasp and headed west; not alone into the sunset, but to home to be with old friends again.