Don Rutland Exemplified the 'Greatest Traits of the Greatest Generation'

The Rutlands—Rosemary, Don and Mark.

The celebration of the life of Don Rutland, the father of Dr. Mark Rutland, was held Monday at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, Florida. Family and friends came to remember a man whose life spanned 93 years, two world wars and a career that included being part of the team that developed the Polaris missile.

Dr. Mark Rutland and his son, Travis, who is pastor of Restoration Church in Bethlehem, Georgia, took turns telling stories about their father and grandfather, whom they said exemplified the greatest traits of the greatest generation. They told how he was stable, hardworking and the patriarch of their large family. They said he was never assuming, yet was involved in ministry after he had an encounter with Christ and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Not only did Don Rutland live 93 years, but he also was married to his wife, Rosemary, for almost 76 years, about which their son wrote a tribute in February. Rutland wrote that the couple, who lived in Texas, eloped across the Red River into Oklahoma.

"Despite the odds, three quarters of a century and two world wars later, in February 2015, that young couple celebrated their 75th anniversary," Rutland wrote. "At 92, Don Rutland is a combat veteran of two wars. He served as a lieutenant in The 11th Airborne (Paratroops) in the Philippines in World War II and as a Captain in Armored Cavalry (tanks) in the Korean War. His Wife, Rosemary, now 90, is as much a veteran as he.

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"My siblings and I are forever grateful that Captain Rutland survived those two wars and that the marriage has survived and thrived for 75 years. We saw their faithfulness, steadfast commitment to each other and their service to America. We witnessed their unflagging perseverance in the face of hardship. They modeled an indefatigable work ethic and that rugged brand of patriotism so characteristic of their generation."

Last February, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered from Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Kansas and Florida to celebrate the 75th wedding anniversary—a milestone that few couples ever see mainly because most don't live that long. On Monday, they gathered again at Calvary Assembly—a church that Mark Rutland pastored for five years in the 1990s—to celebrate the life of a man who lived a long and fruitful life.

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