Cover photo for Cleo R Rucker's Obituary
Cleo R Rucker Profile Photo

Cleo R Rucker

November 18, 1934 — June 1, 2023


Cleo R Rucker


Cleo Richard Rucker, a renowned instrumental music teacher and esteemed educator for over four decades, went to be with the Lord on the morning of June 1st, 2023. Born on November 18, 1934, in Vermillion, Kansas, Cleo was 87 years old at the time of his passing. A memorial service will be held on July 14, 2023, at 2:00 pm at the Cozine Life Events Center. Friends and former students are invited to join the family to pay their respects.

Cleo is survived by his loving wife, Joyce; daughter,  Kristin (Thayne) Thompson; brother, Earl Rucker; Grandchildren, Rashelle Rucker, Jarod (Sarah) Rucker, Jacob (Veronica) Rucker, Alyssa (Shane) Smith, Johannon (Kirstin) Rucker, Nicole (Matthew) Christensen, Megan (Thaddeus) Herrmann, David (Colleen) Thompson and 9 great-grandchildren. Cleo is preceded in death by his son, Bryan Rucker, and his parents, Henry and Ethel Rucker. 


Cleo graduated from college with a BME in Music Education in 1956. He furthered his education and received an MFA in Music Education in 1960 and an EDS in Elementary Administration in 1976. He started his career as an instrumental music teacher from 1957 to 1976. Cleo's commitment to education led him to work as an Elementary and Middle School Administrator from 1977 until 1999.

During his career as an educator, he was a member of many professional organizations such as MENC, KMEA, NEA, KNEA, USA, KAESP, District Governor, the Board of Directors, USD 382 Professional Development Co., State In-service Plan Curriculum Council for Textbook Co., and Chapter I Administrator for USD 259. Cleo received many accolades during his career but was incredibly proud of being awarded Special Education Administrator of the Year in 1996.

Outside of education, Cleo used his extensive knowledge and musical talents as the Personnel Manager for the Wichita Symphony. He also served as co-conductor and guest conductor for the Wichita Junior Youth Symphony. Additionally, he was a percussionist for various groups such as the Wichita Symphony, Wichita Music Theatre, Norman Lee Orchestra, Doris Buss Trio, Geri Van Trio, Pratt Kicks Band (Benefits for AFS), the Jerry Hall Combo, and with the worship band at Southrock Christian Church.

Cleo's dedication was not limited to work; he pursued many hobbies/interests throughout life. Music remained a passion that he always shared with others. Cleo was a passionate musician and educator, using his expertise to affect the lives of all children for whom he had influence.  He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.  But above all, he was a believer in Jesus Christ, working to honor God throughout his life. Cleo's passing is a loss to all who knew him. However, his tremendous contribution to music and education will always be remembered. He leaves an indelible mark on the communities he served. 



Memorials have been established with


South Rock Christian Church

900 S Rock Rd, Derby KS, 67037


Union Rescue Mission

2800 N Hillside St, Wichita, KS 67219


Kansas Humane Society

3313 N Hillside St, Wichita, KS 67219

To send flowers to the family in memory of Cleo R Rucker, please visit our flower store.
Rucker, Cleo Flower Photos.pdf

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, July 14, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)


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