Cover photo for Walter S. Rugland's Obituary
Walter S. Rugland Profile Photo
1937 Walter 2024

Walter S. Rugland

May 18, 1937 — March 8, 2024

Appleton

Appleton – Walter S. Rugland, 86, passed away on Friday March 8, 2024, with family by his side. He lived a life of calling – a calling to serve God, family and community. With his optimism, creative thinking, and persistence, Walt could find a path through any forest.

Walt was born in Orange, N.J., and moved to Appleton at age 6. He loved Wisconsin. Though he lived away for 35 years, he always referred to beautiful weather as a “Wisconsin Day.” He graduated from Appleton (West) High School (1955), received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Luther College in Decorah, IA (1959) and an MBA, actuarial science, from the University of Michigan (1961). He married Amelia (Milly) Bubolz, at Appleton’s First English Lutheran Church in 1961. His career started at Connecticut General Life (CIGNA) in Hartford, CT. In 1975 he joined Milliman, an international firm of actuaries and consultants, locating to Chicago and then, in 1980, to Hartford. He served Milliman life insurance clients during his consulting career from 1975 to 1998. Walt became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1967 and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1968. He joined Thrivent’s predecessor, Aid Association for Lutherans, in 1998 as Chief Operating Officer and retired from Thrivent in 2002 as Executive Vice President.

Walt was compelled to serve his actuarial profession. He was elected president of the Society of Actuaries (1993-1994) and was on the Society’s governing board for over three decades. He was a director of the American Academy of Actuaries. He served as president of the International Actuarial Association (1997-1998) and was the secretary of a committee charged with successfully reconstituting the century old organization into a global consortium of actuarial associations. Walt’s service to his profession earned him numerous awards, including being named as an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries, Scotland, and as an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, England. He was recognized by the Actuarial Foundation as an Insurance Legend and by his alma mater Appleton (West) High School as a Hall of Fame inductee.

Walt worked hard serving his clients so they in turn could offer financial support to others. He also served the communities in which he lived. Walt volunteered at countless charitable organizations touching the arts, children, healthcare, education, faith, and the environment. He held leadership roles and special fondness for the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Imagine Fox Cities, Hartford Stage, Luther College, Appleton Boychoir, Thedacare, Trout Museum of Art, Vesterheim, Wisconsin Historical Society and his churches.

Walt felt a deep gratitude for his blessings. He guided his family with faith, a wry sense of humor, and a steady path. Time at ‘the lake’ in his workshop or on the water, and time in the woods blazing trails, brought him joy. So did sharing it with others. He was particularly proud of his grandchildren. He was a caring dad to both his daughters and sons-in-law, and of particular note, helped his daughter Amy, who battles MS, and mentored his ‘adopted’ son-in-law Artem, who immigrated from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents, Walter L. and Nora H. Rugland, his brothers-in-law Capt. James W. Egerton, G. Allen Bubolz and Gerald L. Bubolz; and sister-in-law Kay (Tusler) Bubolz.

He is survived by his wife, Amelia (Milly) M. Rugland (nee Bubolz); his daughters Amelia (Amy) Ponomarev (Artem) and Zay Lenaburg (Keith); grandchildren Henry, Marta, and Amelia (Mimi) Lenaburg; his sister Helen (Rugland) Egerton; many wonderful cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, April 27, 2024, at First English Lutheran Church, 326 E. North St, Appleton, WI. For those who cannot attend the service in person, the service will be Livestreamed via the obituary page here. Visitation will be on Friday, April 26, 4 - 7 p.m. at Wichmann Funeral Home, 537 N. Superior St, Appleton, and again on Saturday at the church from 9:00 am until the time of the service.

 In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First English Lutheran Church, Appleton, WI (felc.com), Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (foxcitiespac.com/support-us), The Walter S. and Amelia M. Rugland Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region (cffoxvalley.org), or Luther College (giving.luther.edu).   



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Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Visitation

Friday, April 26, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Visitation

Saturday, April 27, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

First English Lutheran Church

326 E North St, Appleton, WI 54911

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First English Lutheran Church

326 E North St, Appleton, WI 54911

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