Emil (Rip) Rippcondi of Bradenton, Fla. died peacefully on Jan. 20 with his loving daughter Frances by his side.

The son of Emil Rippcondidi and Anna Ross, Emil was born on Jan. 11, 1937 in Jersey City, N.J., where he grew up with his four sisters. Restless and seeking fame and fortune, Emil joined the air force soon after high school.

He received technical training as an aircraft radio repairman at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. One of his crazier exploits during his early years of service was having to venture out onto the wing of a plane, during flight, to perform engine maintenance. In the late 1950s, he was transferred to Morocco. During this tour of duty he served as the radio operator on the plane ferrying United Nations peace-keeping troops in and out of the Congo after independence from Belgium resulted in civil war.

Eventually, he was reassigned to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, where he met the love of his life, Janice Mosher of Martha’s Vineyard. Emil was transferred back to Keesler (family in tow) as an instructor where his aptitude and passion for educating others began to flourish. As his military career progressed he was transferred again to Patrick AFB, Florida, where he became a master instructor.

He was most proud of his military service during the Space Race, training operational crew members and participating in Apollo 7, the first two lunar landings (Apollo 11 and 12) and the ill-fated Apollo 13, flying in the ARIA planes, acting as communication relay between stations around the globe. In recognition of his outstanding efforts, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster for Meritorious Service.

After military service, Emil’s technical knowledge and educational expertise were put to use on the Space Coast where he continued to support a variety of emerging technology projects. During this period Emil focused his knowledge of automobiles into owning and operating a Mobil Service Station in Melbourne, Fla. Somehow he managed to support a family, serve God as a leader in his church and get a business administration degree from Rollins College.

Emil and family did move around. Cumming, Ga., was where he and Janice were finally grounded. Life was settled and could be loved. More animals were cared for, service to his church continued and volunteer outreach as a court-appointed advocate for children began.

Emil retired from HP and soon after got right back at it with Daniel’s Charters. All the knowledge and skills he had gained over the years were put to great use. Building relationships, writing proposals, driving buses, writing manuals, teaching others to drive. He created great friendships — the lifelong kind.

He loved his country, his friends, his family and God.

He is survived by his children Frances Rippcondi of Palmetto, Fla., Wendy Colwell of Brandon, Fla, Janine Campbell of Clermont, Fla., Robert Rippcondi of Vineyard Haven; and his sisters Elizabeth Muchow, Janet Worman and Nancy Montagnino; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his wife Janice and sister Joan Gray.

A memorial service was held in Cumming, Ga. on Jan. 26. A private military interment will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery on State Road in Vineyard Haven.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.

Donations to help advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children can be made to CASA of Forsyth County, 875 Lanier 400 Parkway, Box 7, Cumming, GA 30040.