Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf diagnosed with leukemia

Retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

In his trademark, wry and witty voice, the 69-year-old East Bay native who served as his county’s sheriff for almost two decades, sent an email to friends and colleagues on Thursday.

He is exploring treatment options but the prognosis is grim for this type of cancer, he wrote.

“While rather morbid, this may be the only good news,” Rupf wrote. “When you buy this brand, you move rather quickly from check in to check out.”

Yes, Warren was an elected official and as a reporter, I kept my eye on him when he was in office.

But as I grew to know him over the years, I became terribly fond of him. When my son went into law enforcement, the sheriff offered his support and always remembered to ask about the young officer’s progress in the California Highway Patrol. (Warren tested with CHP as a young man but Contra Costa County called him first.)

From me and my family, Warren, we wish you and your family fair winds and following seas as you  chart your way through this hazardous passage.

But as always, his own words are far better than anything I could come up with. I included the photos we used for a profile story on him when he retired in 2010 but here’s what he wrote via email:

Lt. Warren Rupf circa 1975

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shipmates and others with whom I have shared so much,

 I choose an e-mail to share what follows to reduce the likelihood that the message gets caught up in politics or locker room editing (also an opportunity to respond to the charges that Marines cannot read or write. ) Should you choose to offer any response, it also offers an easy to schedule means. I love you all but I am not excited by the idea of putting you (or me) on a path filled with sympathy cards and grown-man tears.

While some tests are still being evaluated and treatment options explored, both are rather grim. I have acute myeloid leukemia. While rather morbid, this may be the only good news. When you buy this brand, you move rather quickly from check-in to check-out. I hate long, slow-moving lines.

Warren Rupf as a young Marine

Some will say that I should have retired earlier and enjoyed the good life. I say: Poppycock, my life could not have been any better. Be it Marine Corps , Office of the Sheriff , going toe-to-toe with a real labor leader or a beer at the slop chute with an old-school reporter, you made my list of those whom made my life one of few regrets.

I know that there are good men with whom I have lost electronic contact please consider sharing this with them as your paths cross and offer them my regards.

Semper Fidelis,



UPDATE: 3:46 p.m. Contra Costa Sheriff Dave Livingston sent this message to his department and other county offices:

As you may have heard by now, our friend and colleague, retired Sheriff Warren Rupf, has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently undergoing treatment but is facing many challenges as he fights this disease.

Yesterday he shared his condition with close friends and relatives. His family has asked that we respect his privacy during these difficult times. He is not able to accept visitors or phone calls.

Please keep Sheriff Rupf, his wife Carole, and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers.

I will update you when we have more information.

Thank you.

David Livingston




Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Elwood

    Best wishes to Sheriff Rupf.

    One of the good guys.

  • Sheriff,

    My highest regards…my family and I send our thoughts and prayers…your service to our country and county is unsurpassed and will be a hard act to follow. May God guide you and your family as you take on this new challenge.

    Semper Fidelis!

  • JohnW

    What a dignified statement! Reminds me of the letter Reagan wrote after being diagnosed with ALZ. Seems trite to say it, but here is wishing the Sheriff and his family well. Semper fi !

  • Sandee Wiedemann

    Warren, you are a Hero to me. You are such a kind, fun, honorable, swell man. God bless you and Carole and your family. This is such bad news.

  • ted ford

    what a brave guy

  • Monica Silva

    Thank you for EVERYTHING you have done for our Son…. You are the one person he truly looks up to and Resprcts with his whole Heart. You loved our Two children from the moment they were born , like your own and they both will forever Proudly call you Their Papa… I can go on forever to say what you mean to them and myself but I will just say THANK YOU WARREN WE LOVE YOU YOUR AN AMAZING MAN THAT HAS MADE OUR LIFE WONDERFUL…. Love Monica , Joey & Regan Silva

  • Regan Silva

    Papa, first of all I want to say I love you! You are such a strong man that I know you will fight against this! We all love you and I hope to see you soon! Thank you for everything you do for me and I can’t thank you enough! Love you so much Papa!
    Love, Rea!

  • Carlos Rose

    My best to you Warren, Carole, and your family.I’ll never forget the late night/ early morning coffees we shared off of Hwy 4, back in the 70’s.Also Dj gigs for the sheriffs posse. You’re a great man Warren, and I’m proud to know you. Carlos Rose Concord P.D. ( retired )

  • Charles James

    As a Public Defender, I always admired you from a distance. You ran a good shop, the Sheriff’s were the most professional law enforcement in the county under your leadership. Our thoughts are with you.

  • John Farrington CHP ret

    I worked with you as an Asst Chief in Golden Gate Division. What a great professional you are. If anyone can beat this you can. Best of luck to a great man!

  • Grace

    Best wishes to you and your family. I am sorry to hear that you are battling such a tough disease. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Denise Lester

    Dear Warren,
    I’ve only recently had the honor of meeting you via our mutual friend and Trail Boss.. Your joy was infectious and your devotion to our friend warmed my heart. My mother travelled this same path a few years ago. I pray your journey is as peaceful as hers and you continue to bless other’s along the way. Fondly , Denise , “The Driver”…

  • robert w. parkins

    Hi Warren – thanks a million -we’l meet again some day
    ol’ buddie. love to the family – Bobbo

  • Mike M. Zeelen

    Sheriff Rupf, aka: “Big Chief” to me, You are and allways will be my “HERO”. As a Leader, You inspired and guided many, including me. THANK YOU.!!!

  • Lou and Terri Adamo


    We hope you truly know how much we treasure having you and Carole as our next door neighbors. The sweetest sounds have been your grandchildren yelling “Papa” in your backyard. It has always brought me back to my wonderful childhood with my Meme and Papa (Thank you for that – Terri).

    We thank you for your unwavering dedication to our community and…for the annual challenge to get out there and get the Christmas lights up before you and Carole.

    We pray that today’s medical science will provide positive results for you.

    God Bless You.

    Terri, Lou and Matt

  • John Billheimer


    You continue to be a ” giant among men ” in every way

    My best—-JB

  • Dearest brother Warren,

    Knowing you are a strong and determined man, you’ll overcome this fight and come home to your loving family
    Much love,

    -Lan & John

  • Warren,

    Words simply cannot express my feelings for you and your family! You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I have never admired another person more than I do you. This tough job you are facing proves that you deserve the highest of admiration from all who know you. You have taught me alot in the years we have been friends. I am on call for you 24/7. You will always be my hero! BEST OF LUCK BIG CHIEF. Clarence

  • Tricia Aires


    It saddens me to hear that you are not feeling well. I want to say thank you for all the conversations we have shared and also for my first cigar (actually my only cigar) My prayers and best wishes to you and your family.

    With much respect

  • Rich Hill

    Please folks, although it may seem insurmountable. Warren may surprise us all, with positive thoughts & prayers from friends & family. He’s not done yet! Best to all & his family! He will always be with me!

  • Ron Printz

    Dearest Loop
    I know you will remember the name. This is a horrible mess that has a hold of you at this time. When I got word of this I sat up all night and watched a lightning storm from my front porch and thought about when we first met at the USMC Receiving Barracks, all the great memories of hours looking over the bow of all the ships we were on with the ocean as smooth as glass. The typhoon off the coast of Korea was a ride no one could forget.

    We were and still are great friend who spent some great years together. We will round up a miracle and get it headed your way. Hang in there. A good friend always, Semper FI
    Acapo (Ron)

  • Herb Rheingruber

    You are a true mentor, sir. Based on you courage, integrity, intelligence, vision, and sensitivity, I am a better person and society has a template to which its members can aspire far into the future. You have set the bar very high for those who will follow you. We are truly saddened by this turn of events. We can only hope for the best for you. Our love to Carole.

    Herb Rheingruber

  • Donna Gerber

    You are a class act and wiley as ever. I recently ran across the political campaign ad you did for me…it’s one of my favorite campaign memories and you know those are few and far between…
    I am thankful to have this opportunity to share this with you…and I can hear you laughing…you are in my thoughts….

  • Martin Mayer

    Warren, for as long as I’ve known you, I’ve looked up to you (literally, and I don’t have to do that very often, as well as figuratively) and, after reading your email, I look up to you even more than ever before. You are truly a “class act” and I am praying for you. If there is anything I can do for you or Carole, as always, all you need to do is shout and I’ll be there. God bless you my friend – fight on.


  • marilyn avila (DSW)

    I will never said goodbye , because you always will be here with us, i never will forget about you, you are in our heart, people like you always be remember, GOD BLESS YOU. You taking part off my heart.

  • Dear Warren, I clearly remember the first day we met at CSSA shortly after you succeeded Sheriff Rainey. You had big shoes to fill and you filled them with distinction. Your hard work,tenacity and strong leadership along with your Tom Selleck looks and infectous smile became your signature stamp as Contra Costa County Sheriff. You shaped my opinion on many issues as you did others throughout your law enforecment career and especially Cal Sheriffs. Thank you for being you! Until we meet again. Happy Trails, Les Weidman, Stanislaus County Sheriff, ret.

  • Zulma Garcia & family

    Dear Sheriff Rupf (Mi Amigo),
    May God Bless you and give you the strength to surpass this disease. You are a wonderful man & I thank you for your support towards my sister, Marylin and I. We’ll be keeping you & your family in our thoughts & prayers. Have faith & keep hope because we are all here supporting you!

    – Your amiga Zulma (the custodian)

  • Dear Warren & Auntie Carole,
    Our prayers and support are with you both. We love you. If you need anything at all please let us know.
    We love you,
    Darrin & Leighann xoxo