Cover photo for Frank Rudrud's Obituary
Frank Rudrud Profile Photo
1941 Frank 2022

Frank Rudrud

September 20, 1941 — December 14, 2022

Madison, Wisconsin/The Villages, Florida

God needed another Santa in heaven. Frank K Rudrud, age 81, passed away on December 14, 2022, at  Cornerstone Hospice in The Villages, Florida, after a long battle with kidney failure and respiratory complications.

He continues to show us all never to give up. His courageous spirit continued through the end of his time on this earth.

Frank was kind and wonderful. He was a son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and teacher. In his later years, he was a beloved Santa Claus to the very young and the young at heart. He greeted everyone with a great smile, and he was a sweetheart. He was always willing to lend a helping hand, especially in his community, including his Bethel Lutheran Church family and beloved Bethel Horizons. He always responded to others with compassion and kindness.

He was born on September 20th, 1941, to Frances and Kermit Rudrud of La Crosse, Wi. He was brother to Charles and Linda Rudrud and uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Frank was a hard worker and passed that trait to his daughters, Sandy and Ann. He was a member of the National Guard, serving from 1965-71.  He went on to work in sales at Duraform, and in his later years, he was a perfect liking to Santa Claus.

Frank was married to Katherine (Bahr) Rudrud for 24 years before her death. They served their family and friends with open arms.  They also loved serving the greater community, with their love for church spilling forth in serving in many volunteer positions in the church. If the church was open, the Rudrud family was there. It benefited their daughters on Christmas Eve when Frank wanted to do the traditional Norwegian Christmas meal of lefsa and lutefisk. Eventually, Kathy realized that wasn’t working for their daughters and would include spareribs.  After some time, pizza was ordered out due to time constraints. Kathy ran Kathy’s Day Care out of their home, and Frank was the big teddy bear the children enjoyed sitting with while they ate breakfast together. He also played Santa for them at Christmas. He kept his white beard and Santa spirit all year round.

Frank moved to Florida in his golden years to enjoy the heat and sunshine and escape the Wisconsin winters. He met many friends and enjoyed visiting new friends who shared the Wisconsin connection. Traveling was something Frank treasured. Whether it was going out to visit Sandy in Delaware or to the Indy 500 with Ann, his overseas trips included Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Israel, Egypt, and his memorable trip with his brother- and sister-in-law to Norway, where he was able to see the original Rudrud homestead.  Frank was also part of three trips to Eastern Europe with groups from Bethel Lutheran Church and Herb Brokering. Kathy was able to go to one in 1988, and Sandy and Ann went in 1996. They were memorable trips for everyone, and the help we provided to the people of Poland and Slovakia was very fulfilling.

He spent time researching his genealogy and always took advantage of a good meal or his favorite dessert of ice cream.

His parents, wife Kathy, and son-in-law Eric Christenson preceded him in death. He will be missed by all that had the privilege of knowing him.

He is survived by daughters Sandy Rudrud Wilmington De, Ann (Brian) Simon Pardeeville, Wi, and Brother Charles (Linda) Rudrud, LaCrosse, WI. and many family and friends who loved him dearly.

We would like to thank those who cared for dad during his time in Florida, Patricia Martz and Osprey Lodge.

Visitation will be from 10-11 AM on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at BETHEL LUTHERAN CHURCH, 312 Wisconsin Ave, Madison, WI 53703, with a memorial service to begin at 11:00 AM.  Frank will be brought to his final place of rest at 11:00 am on Friday, March 17, 2023 at Mormon Coulee Memorial Park in La Crosse with a full military honors service.

Memorials can be made to Bethel Lutheran Church Media Ministry and Bethel Horizons .

We would like to thank those who cared for dad during his time in Florida, Patricia Martz and Osprey Lodge.

Cress Funeral Service-- Sun Prairie


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 16, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)



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Memorial Service

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)



Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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