Alexander Everett Rudnitsky, 90, of Alpharetta, aka Al Rudy and lovingly known as “Big Al,” “Big Pop,” and “Rudy,” passed away peacefully July 10, 2021, after a challenging battle with Alzheimer’s disease and severe dementia.
Rudy was born to Rose and Zavel (Sam) Rudnitsky June 4, 1931, in Philadelphia. After graduating Bartram High School, he went on to play quarterback for Penn State University’s freshman team under coach Joe Paterno. To avoid the outbreak of the Korean War, he joined the National Guard. Luck, however, was not on his side; despite never having gone through basic training, Rudy’s guard unit was called up for active duty June 25, 1950.
Al fought in over a dozen battles, and was even captured and lined up under a tree with 21 others awaiting execution. He was saved by the South African Air Force, which struck nearby targets, forcing his captors to abandon their plans, allowing Al and his fellow soldiers to escape.
Commended for his action and services performed above and beyond the call of duty, Al received four Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, two soldier medals, combat jump wings, a combat infantryman’s badge, seven battle stars, and a commendation medal. Of the 225 men in his unit sent to Korea, Al was one of only 20 to come home.
Upon returning home, Al was set up on a blind date with Bernice Pitesky, of whom he was so smitten that he proposed later that same night. Within a year, they were married. They shared a love for Atlantic City, so much that they later relocated to nearby Marven Gardens with their daughters Su and Sharon for 10 years. They later moved to Hollywood, Fla., and ultimately followed his daughter Sharon to Atlanta.
Decades after his service, Al was part of a group of veterans who fought to build support and funding to dedicate a Korean War Veterans Memorial to honor those who served in what has been referred to as the “forgotten war.” The memorial was ultimately created and opened in the summer of 1995 in Washington, D.C.
He spoke throughout Florida and Georgia to Veterans of Foreign Wars groups, synagogues, and other organizations about the Korean War and his experiences as part of it.
A lifelong Mason and member of the Masonic Lodge of Atlantic County, N.J., Rudy taught classes to incoming members and also served as a mentor to troubled youth in Atlantic City in the ’60s and ’70s.
After moving to Atlanta in 2004, Al spent time working and volunteering at The William Bremen Jewish Home and the North Fulton Community Charities Food Bank.
Al was preceded in death in 2002 by his loving wife of 49 years Bernice and in 1983, by his half-sister Ruth Taxin. Al is survived by two daughters Su and Sharon (Mark); three granddaughters Jordan (Scott), Ally (Max) and Madison (Spencer); and three great-grandchildren Nace, Remi and Benjamin.
Please consider a gift card fund donation for Aberdeen Place Hospice (any amount). This donation will be distributed into gift cards and awarded each monthly to individual staff and nurses who serve the needs of hospice patients. The fund will be in Al Rudy’s memory. Checks payable to Sharon Moskowitz, 145 Jade Cove Circle, Roswell 30075 or Venmo @Sharon – Moskowitz . Reference it “The RUDY tzedakah card.” Donations may also be made in Al’s memory to All About Cats Rescue, allaboutcatsrescue.org, or Korean War Veterans Memorial, koreanwarvetsmemorial.org. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
- Alexander Everett Rudnitsky
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Penn State University
- Joe Paterno
- National Guard
- Korean War
- South African Air Force
- Purple Hearts
- Bronze Stars
- combat jump wings
- combat infantryman’s badge
- seven battle stars
- commendation medal
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Forgotten War
- William Bremen Jewish Home
- North Fulton Community Charities Food Bank
- Masonic Lodge
- Aberdeen Place Hospice
- About Cats Rescue
- Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care