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Robin Ruppel-Kerr ’79

A picture of Robin Ruppel-Kerr

Robin Ruppel-Kerr ’79 (left) and Paula vanHaagen ’79, on the eastern edge of Tarangire National Park in September 2007, when the two summited Mt. Kilimanjaro together.

Robin Ruppel-Kerr ’79, April 20, 2012, at her home in Seattle, Washington, after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Robin spent her early years in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where she developed a lasting love for mountains and the outdoors. She graduated from Reed with a BA in biology. Her sister, Wendy Ruppel ’82, wrote, “Robin loved Reed and brought away from her time there a thirst for learning, a love of biology, folk dance and calligraphy, and lifelong friendships.” After graduation, Robin enlarged on her passion for folk dance and music in a master’s program in folk arts at Duquesne University. She also conducted research on hypertension at Montefiore Hospital in New York City, where she met Timothy G. Kerr, whom she later married. This work led her back to school and to a master’s degree in environmental toxicology from the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Robin worked in product safety for Bayer MaterialScience in Pittsburgh for 17 years, before her health forced her to return to the Pacific Northwest, where she could be cared for by family and friends. During remission from cancer, Robin climbed and reached the summits of Mount Rainier and Mount Kilimanjaro. She died with her sisters by her side. Robin is survived by her daughter, Kelsey; her parents; and her sisters, Wendy and Joanna, along with their spouses and children. She is remembered as a beautiful, strong, and courageous woman, who possessed a passion for life and a radiant smile.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2012

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