John Rukavina was a successful businessman. He had a strong work ethic and worked hard to achieve his goals.
On October 10, 1982, he was working at a construction site. He was armed with a gun when he was shot and killed. He was sued for damages.
Early Life and Education
john rukavina was born in Virginia, Minnesota, February 4, 1922. He attended local schools and went on to Virginia Junior College. He served in the US Navy and earned a commendation for heroism on Iwo Jima.
Throughout his life, he never forgot his Iron Range roots or his Croatian heritage. He was “Mr. Ruk” to many students at White Bear Lake High School and “Deda” to 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He was a dedicated and active member of St. Pius X Church in White Bear Lake for 59 years. He was also an advocate for several Croatian American groups, including the Croatian Fraternal Union, MN Croatian Cultural Society and the National Federation of Croatian Americans. He was a proud member of the Democratic Party and counted Hubert Humphrey and Rudy Perpich among his friends.
Rukavina has over 30 years of fire service experience and is currently the director of Public Fire Safety Services. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and has attended numerous leadership training programs.
In 1984, he was appointed fire chief in St. Joseph, Missouri, and later became chief in Asheville, North Carolina. He was also named a FEMA Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a chief fire officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
He was an active member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 5A from 1987 to 2013. As a legislator, Rukavina was known for his feisty Iron Range politics. He supported multinational mining and steel companies and lobbied for more taconite and copper mining on the Range.
Achievements and Honors
Rukavina was a renowned coach for decades at the high school, junior college and NCAA Division II levels. He’s been honored with several coaching awards including the National Independent Coach of the Year, and was inducted into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Hall of Fame.
He is also a respected legislator who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1987 to 2013. His legislative accomplishments include passing legislation that ensured mining plants were kept open after multiple shutdowns during economic downturns.
He is semiretired now, but will climb on jobs that pique his interest. He recently climbed on the Willis Tower in Chicago to affix an antenna to its top, a job that was particularly meaningful because it brought him back to work with a friend.
In his life, he was known as a passionate advocate for social justice. He also loved his wife and ten children and had a deep devotion to Notre Dame.
He was the son of Martin “Benny” and Martha Rukavina (Mordini). Tom grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood on the north side of Virginia, Minnesota, where he developed a large family that positively influenced him throughout his career.
Tom was elected to represent the people of Pike Township for three terms as a state representative. He remained active in politics and served his community for more than 30 years. He was a great friend to thousands of constituents and his passion for social justice made him a true public servant. His life was a source of inspiration to many.
Rukavina is known to be an expert in weather and climate and he has become very famous for his reporting skills. He is the Chief Meteorologist for WPSD Local 6 in Paducah, Kentucky where he has gained a lot of recognition.
He has a net worth of 900 thousand dollars which he accumulated from his professional career. He is married to Dragana who is a costume designer and they have two kids.
In addition to his career as a meteorologist, Rukavina also holds an interest in the business of real estate. He owns several properties. He is also the owner of a car dealership which makes him a rich man. In addition to his income from his career, he has also amassed a large amount of money from his real estate investments.