Arlington Wonder Woman celebrates Mother’s Day

When Michigan resident Brad Rupay was offered a job in Dallas in 1983 he seized the opportunity, and, with wife Judy at his side, the young couple headed for Texas.

They chose Arlington as the place to make their home – a decision that would impact the lives of thousands in the years to follow.

Now the mother of two daughters, five grandchildren, and twin great-granddaughters, Judy will be very busy celebrating Mother’s Day across four generations.

Beyond her terrific family, she also can take a moment to stand in an even larger spotlight as one of the city’s exemplary role models of community service.

You would think becoming the owner of an investment advisory firm would keep her busy enough. After all, she was operating in a business field that is made up of mostly men, and that meant she had to work even harder for her success.

After selling her firm a few years ago, she recognized that Arlington was the only city around that didn’t have its own monthly magazine. So, she created Arlington Today, now headed toward its fifth year of operations telling the stories and promoting the activities of the community that no other publication is doing.

Somehow, however, she finds the time to join hands with others in tackling unmet needs being addressed by a plethora of non-profit organizations working for others in Arlington and throughout the region.

I first became better acquainted with Judy when she was elected to the Arlington City Council in 1994. Serving in that capacity for three terms, she became fully engaged in the life of the city during some pivotal years in its history.

Among her first official duties was to participate in the grand opening of The Ballpark in Arlington that marked a new era in the city’s partnership with the Texas Rangers Baseball Team.

Her investment firm offices were located in the ballpark, and that put her in daily contact with the Rangers front office executives and staff that helped to build an even stronger bond between the team and the city.

Her interest in the continued expansion of the city’s entertainment district helped to build progress there as she currently serves on the board of directors of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Her business background makes her an excellent member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce board of directors helping direct the growth of economic opportunity for big and small firms alike.

With a strong Christian faith, Judy was a founder of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where she and Brad serve today in the church’s Marriage Preparation Program guiding the union of the church’s young adults for lifetime commitments.

Judy’s passion for the youth of the community, however, expands way beyond the church’s boundaries. She is a long-time board member of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, where she previously served as its chairwoman.

When the Salvation Army’s Youth Education Town was being created, Judy was right there with them and continues as a YET board member.

She served as the PTA president at Martin High School and then as a mentor to seniors in all six of the city’s high schools who are selected annually to receive the Texas Rangers scholarship in leadership along with financial assistance for their college years.

She serves as a member of the River Legacy Foundation’s board of directors, helping lead an organization that is currently involved in a $2.5 million capital campaign to transform the city’s nature center into a first-quality museum experience and significantly enhance the Foundation’s environmental and natural science education programs.

All of the above and many more non-profit organizations where she has served have one other thing in common: They all need money to carry out their missions of service to the community.

Judy is a tireless and fearless fund-raiser. I doubt there is an actual tally to be found, but she’s helped produce many millions of dollars that have resulted in a higher quality of life for so many with needs that would have otherwise gone unmet.

Assuming that she pauses for a little while, Judy and Brad will celebrate their 50th anniversary in a couple of years.

But, “retirement” isn’t in her vocabulary, so you can expect to see this Wonder Woman keep on keeping on for the betterment of her fellow citizens.

Daughter Tricia Schwartz sums it all up succinctly, “Yeah, that’s my mom – always engaged in the life of this community and she’s never going to quit.”

 

Richard Greene was Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997, appointed by President George W. Bush as Regional

Administrator to the EPA, and currently teaches in UT Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.