Albert Rudy

Obituary of Albert Gayle Rudy

Long time San Lorenzo Valley resident Al Rudy passed away Monday August 9, 2010 due to complications from his treatment for cancer. He was born Albert Gayle Rudy on 2-9-27 in Toole Utah. His family moved to San Jose CA in 1934. He grew up in San Jose, attending Grant Elementary, Roosevelt Jr. High and San Jose High. He served in the U.S. Army in WWII. Bound for the Philippines when the Japanese surrendered, his troopship was diverted to Tokyo Bay and he landed in Japan with the first American Occupation Forces. While stationed in Japan, he developed a great sympathy for the Japanese civilians. He learned their language and worked, for a time, as an interpreter. In 1946, turning down a promotion and permanent job as a U.S. Army interpreter, he returned to San Jose where he resumed his pre Army interest in dirt track motorcycle racing. Legendary San Jose racing star Sam Arena was impressed with Al's natural ability. At Arena's urging Tom Sifton, the premiere tuner of the era, picked Al to ride for him. Despite his rookie status, Al won several important West Coast dirt track races for Sifton. At Daytona in 1949 he led the entire first half of the 100 mile event until a flat tire took him out of the running. Sadly, his promising career was cut short by a street bike accident in the summer of 1949 that cost him his left leg just below the knee. Dirt track racing requires the left leg as an outrigger in the turns. Despite the loss of his crucial left leg, Arena and Sifton urged Al to try racing with a prosthetic. In 1950 at the Bay Meadows National, Al made his post injury debut on the mile oval. Unfortunately the prosthetic leg failed under racing conditions. Unable to put his foot down, Al rode feet up, through the turns at over 100 mph. Remarkably he was able to qualify for the Expert program and finished 6th in the Expert consolation race. Although others felt he remained competitive, Al believed he was a danger to other riders and officially retired from racing that day. His racing career over, Al went on to work as a warehouseman for a small independent wholesale drug company in San Jose called AID. Soon, the front office tapped him to go to IBM school to learn about new machines called computers that were being used to manage data. Al mastered the new technology. When he retired at age 55, Al supervised the data systems for the pharmaceutical conglomerate AMFAC. He moved his family from San Jose to the San Lorenzo Valley in 1965. After years of commuting to San Jose, Al retired from AMFAC in 1978, and purchased Ernie's ARCO gas station in Felton. He operated the station until 1986 when he sold it to his son Gordon and retired again to devote himself to working in the yard of his Ben Lomond home and managing his real estate interests. Al remained a lifelong motorcyclist. In 1982 his Ben Lomond home was isolated for 6 months by a mudslide. Al was the first person to get a vehicle out when he rode his 1949 hand shift Harley over the slide. He and his wife Joyce rode many miles together on his motorcycle. Al also spent countless wonderful days camping with Joyce in their little motor home. His last motor home outing was to Calistoga July 31 to see the National Championship motorcycle races. An avid golfer, Al also enjoyed hitting balls and watching golf on TV with his grandson Jack. Al is survived by Joyce Rudy, his wife of 56 years, his children Gordon Rudy, Chris Rudy, Jill (Rudy) Gross, his much teased but well loved son in law Russell Gross and his equally teased and much loved daughter in law Arcelia (Quezada) Rudy. His siblings Gene Rudy, Lloyd Rudy, LaRue (Rudy) Lewis and Lawana (Rudy) Hall, his grandchildren Samantha, Alexandra and Jack Albert and his step grandchildren Vanessa, Adrian and Katrina. Al also leaves behind his many beloved nieces, nephews and their children and grandchildren. At his request there will be no formal funeral services. Instead he asked that a memorial gathering be held at his home. The memorial will be held August 21 2010 at 12:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, Al would prefer that his friends and family use that money to do something nice for another person.
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Albert
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel
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