Rudolph John Korpas
Rudolph John Korpas
  • July 2, 1965 - November 23, 2017
  • Tampa, Florida

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To put a life that lasted for 52 incredible years into a few brief words is a tremendous task. For me, it is an privilege. My brother, Rudolph John Korpas III was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 2nd, 1965. He did a good part of his early growing up in a public housing project in West Point Mississippi. His parents, Rudolph John Korpas Jr. and Elizabeth Korpas along with the entire family (or herd) as my brother later would fondly refer to them, instilled a strong work ethic, a staunch love of family and helping others. My family, many of their friends and his friends as well, also helped to kindle a true understanding of what pride, honor, integrity and service meant, while still understanding that life was about playing harder than you worked.

That being said, my brother marched to the beat of his own drum. Throughout school and in every part of his life, Jay did things and made decisions of his own accord and was never ashamed to do so. It was a quality that made him unique, extraordinary, surprising and frustrating. His decisions were his and his alone, as were their consequences and he was rarely, if ever, swayed by outside influences. He truly was his own man.

I genuinely believe he found his calling quite a few years ago with an incredible group of people. Their mission was to serve and protect others, two things which were at the very core of my brother’s existence and being. He was part of the Civil Air Patrol, a group dedicated to emergency response and search and rescue. Rudy (as his CAP team knew him) was passionate about aviation, about saving and protecting lives and about working with an outstanding team which grew to be his family. He never bragged or flaunted what he did. It was always about his team, about this special family, this unit and what they did together.

As for me, I found no greater honor than to be his brother. We were 8 ½ years apart. Even so, we aggravated each other to no end. Even at those inevitable times of conflict that all siblings go through, we still knew the other had our back. We covered for each other, we played hard together and I think we learned volumes from each other. No matter what, I could find no greater mentor for me or my girls.

They miss their Uncle Jay, they love him with all their hearts and always will. They know he is gone too early. He treasured them, loved them and looked forward to watching them grow up. Jay loved his girls with everything he had.

There is no way to describe 52 years of an all too short life for a man like Jay. He was dynamic, astonishing, and aggravating. He was loving, supportive and caring. In many ways, his heart was bigger than his head, and I believe that’s exactly what he wanted.