From the first day that Israel "Iz" Wrubel started West Point until the day he graduated with his Classmates in 1958, his sense of humor and irrepressible optimism never left him. We believe these traits were his good fortune, since his life took him down some extraordinarily bumpy roads, with many twists and even some dead ends.
Iz grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina where his father was a Rabbi. He was a bright pupil in High School, and he excelled in baseball, basketball, and swimming. He told us later at West Point that he was fondest of baseball. Like many others who enter the Military Academy, Izzy first attended a civilian college. He spent a year at Duke University in North Carolina. He took some engineering courses there that might have prepared him for the science and mathematics course he would later take at West Point. Despite this, from the first month of Plebe math class through the Second Class and First Class engineering classes, Iz often marched in the last section. We suspected that his interests lay elsewhere, since he never seemed to lose his enthusiasm. His Classmates in Company I-2 could remember with a chuckle, even a half-century later, occasions when Iz would return to the I-2 area, proudly announcing that he had "maxed" a major exam, only to learn when grades were posted that he had slipped below the pass line on another math or engineering exam. In humanities subjects, history and other social studies, for example, Iz did much better, and through it all, he displayed boundless enthusiasm and passion for life. It is fair to say that, in the hearts of his West Point friends, Iz loved people, and people loved Iz.
Iz was especially close to his family. They moved from the South to Herkimer, New York which put them closer to their son while he was at West Point. His mom used to deliver big packages of delicious goodies, which everyone in the division shared, after the great aroma wafted up and down the halls.
The newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Wrubel married Betty Isquith at graduation. He was first assigned to the basic school for Artillery lieutenants at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where Betty, inexperienced with life outside of New York City, felt "uneasy with the wide open spaces". Accordingly, the young Artillery Lieutenant successfully sought an assignment, after finishing the requisite training, with a Nike missile battery protecting New York City. He managed his time during this period carefully and was able through night classes at City College (CCNY) to obtain a Master's Degree in Business. In this endeavor he actually did “max” most classes. Iz felt he had found his calling, and he left Army active duty. In time Iz and Betty had two children, Stephen and David, but their marriage broke up. Iz left his job at a financial investment firm for a position in a similar firm in London.
In Britain Iz seemed to have gained a "second wind" and became relatively affluent trading in stocks and bonds, despite the inevitable cycles of the market. Iz married a British lady, Pat Waldron, with whom he had two more children, Paul and Jennifer. When the London financial market took a dive at about this time, his business fortunes took a dive, too. In his own words Iz went from "rags (New York) to riches (Britain) and back to rags." He returned to the East Coast, mainly New Jersey, for some time before moving to Los Angeles, California. Later though, in his personal life, Iz suffered a double tragedy with the deaths of his daughter Jennifer and Pat.
In Los Angeles, Iz married for a third time, to Dolly Rosell, a successful executive in the film/TV industry. He was no longer in the "riches" category. Therefore, Iz (who had earlier changed his name to I. Warren Rubel) seemed to his friends intent upon hitting a home run in these late innings of his life. Mere base hits would not suffice. So Iz engaged in several risky enterprises, such as putting together investments in an old half-caved-in Mexican gold mine, (joking he was emulating Humphrey Bogart in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"). Investors found that accommodations consisted of a sleeping bag in a lumpy mining quarry with Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. Other businesses in which he was CEO, President, or a director included film/TV companies, precious metals companies, energy systems, water purification and other ecological systems, flotation systems, medical billing companies, and a palm tree nursery brokerage.
Iz devoted all his energies to his important business pursuits, neglecting to care for his physical health. Burdened with the strain of running these companies, Iz died suddenly and unexpectedly, but peacefully of a heart attack while watching TV late at night, 31 October 1993.
His son Paul inherited Iz’s love of and aptitude for the business world. He has an MBA and currently lives with his wife, Tamara, in Santa Monica. His many friends, especially his West Point Classmates, will always remember the exuberant Cadet and buddy who gave joy to everybody around him. In addition to being a good friend, he was an avid reader, an expert at the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, and a great conversationalist.
His sister and classmates with special appreciation to Bob Huskinson.