Friday, February 24, 2017

Mrs. Prue Dupee

Prue Warner Dupee
April 24, 1939 - February 21, 2017
With the Lord

Prue Dupee, wife of former headmaster David Dupee, has passed. Jamie Gienapp remembers:
Let me tell you about a special lady, Prue Dupee, who went to be with the Lord on 2/21/17.
In 1988, I moved to Iowa to attend a Christian boarding/day school, Cono Christian School, in the midst of cornfields. While there are many stories I could tell about many people that I would encounter at this school. One of the greatest and yet surprising sources of influence on my childhood came from a woman named Prue Dupee.
Prue Dupee was the wife of the school’s headmaster, Dave Dupee. I don’t remember exactly the first time I met or spoke to her but I do remember that my first impression was that this woman was someone with whom I should not trifle.
Prue was the “head chef” if you will, for the entire school. She was responsible for the feeding of around 100 people (depending on the day) for three meals a day, for most of the year. Anybody that knew Prue at Cono knew that the school kitchen was hers. Period. Don’t go in there, don’t touch anything, and most importantly, don’t you dare EAT anything. She was always in the kitchen. From the break of dawn until well after everyone had turned in for the night, Prue was either cleaning up from the last meal or prepping for the next one.
As was the Cono custom, all students were required to serve in some sort of working capacity, whether it was in campus maintenance or in the kitchen. I had, on several occasions, been tasked with washing dishes after the evening meal, but my duties did not involve working directly with Mrs. Dupee. It wasn’t until my senior year at Cono that they broke the news to me that I would be working with her in the kitchen. I had witnessed her barking orders in her kitchen and I was intimidated. She clearly had no tolerance for laziness, tomfoolery, or shenanigans. These were things in which I excelled and I was dreading what she would have in store for me.
I was a somewhat lazy teenager and the prospect of having to work hard and sweat in the kitchen did not appeal to me. I was not enthusiastic about the assignment. From the minute I walked into her kitchen, I knew I was being sized up. I had a sneaking suspicion that my reputation as a lazy teenager had preceded me. It was possible that Mrs. Dupee was just experienced and knew from a statistical standpoint that I was likely to be a lazy teenager.
Not wanting to get in trouble, I worked quickly and did as I was told. Mrs. Dupee was firm but fair with her expectations. As she got to know me better, she began to realize that I was not a completely lost cause. As I earned her respect through my hard work, our daily routine eventually transitioned from just giving orders to teaching. She began to give me tips about cooking and explain why she did certain things in the kitchen.
I began to see another side of Prue Dupee that most kids in that school never saw. She was so much more than just the cook and dietician. I saw her on good days and bad days. I witnessed the frustration that came with her duties and its demands. I saw both her temper and her generosity. I saw her be a mother to hundreds of students that walked through the halls of Cono. Not all of them appreciated her, but she was there faithfully every day.
Prue sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears for that school and so many people never noticed. I got to see it. I reached a point as a student that I would not tolerate listening to another student if they happened to criticize her. I would stop them and educate them on how much that woman really did for them. I knew what she was really like and I respected her.
In my own failure as a human being, I lost touch with Mrs. Dupee but I never forgot her. I wish I had been able to tell her that so much of what I learned from her example stayed with me into my adult years. Her legacy, in my opinion, is her example to everyone around her. I am honored and thankful to have worked beside her. I am blessed to have had her as an influence in my life. Thank you, Mrs. Dupee, for your years of service and the example you set for me as a person. May God bless your family and bring peace and comfort in this difficult time.

No comments: