Rube John Sofer (Mandy Patinkin) is the leader of the Club. He is laid-back and unemotional, but easily takes offense at interruptions into his daily routine (such as problems with Mason or poorly cooked meals). From the very first time he met George, Rube referred to her as "peanut", the nickname he called his daughter Rosie Sofer. As seen on an envelope, Rube's last name was originally "Stofer" but this was later changed to "Sofer".
Rube was born, of Jewish descent, in or about 1875 and lived in Englewood, New Jersey. By his wife Lucy Sonia Sofer (née Debrowski), who was twenty-five years his junior, he had one child, Rose Anne. Though details of Rube's past are scant, a records clerk who is assisting him in finding his daughter comes across a "Wanted" poster of Rube stating that he is a bank robber; it is probable that this led to his death. Frequent references suggest that leaving his family is an act Rube has regretted ever since.
In one flashback, Rube is shown readying a pistol and accidentally awakening his daughter. After quickly hiding the pistol in a newspaper, he approaches Rose's bedside and tells her that he is going to get something that her mother needed. Upon asking her father when he would return, Rube replied, "Soon," and sang her a lullaby to help her go back to sleep.
In the 21st Century, Rube receives an eighty-year old returned package from the post office. This package was addressed to Rose Sofer and contained a large stack of aged hundred-dollar and fifty-dollar bills. The source of the money is not shown, but it may be related to the robbery. Rube states that he mailed the package after he died.
He also references and appears to be moved by a fairy tale in which a man's wife told him that if he was gone for more than three days, that she would move and he could never come back. After two days away from his wife, the man realized that he still loved her and hurried to return before the three days were up. Upon reaching a bog in his hurry, he asked a boy nearby if the bog had a hard bottom. The boy replied that it did. The man attempted to cross the bog, and began to sink deep into the mire. As he sank, he protested to the boy, who said that the swamp did indeed have a hard bottom – the man just hadn't reached it yet. It is unclear whether the story is autobiographical or metaphorical.
Regarding Rube's possible year of birth, in the episode "Death Defying" we see on his daughter Rose's birth certificate that Rube was age 49 at the time of her birth on March 19, 1925. This makes Rube’s birth year 1875 or 1876 depending on the month of his birth. However, in the episode "Haunted", Rose’s year of birth is shown on her gravestone to be 1922. If we accept 1922 as the year of Rose's birth, then Rube was either age 46 at the time, or he was born three years early in 1872 or 1873.
In the episode "Always" we see a flash back to a time that is presumably shortly before Rube’s death. Rube speaks to and sings the Irving Berlin song "Always" (written in 1925) to his young daughter Rosie, who is played by a 6-year-old girl. The girl is much too old to have been born in 1925 per the "Death Defying" episode, suggesting that Rose’s 1922 year of birth, as shown in the episode "Haunted", is more likely.
Though George states that Rube died in 1927, this does not agree with his presence as a reaper when Betty died in 1926. The year of Betty’s death, however, is contradicted in the episode "Reaping Havoc" when she makes a comment suggesting she was still alive in 1927. If so, this makes Rube’s death in 1927 plausible.
After his death, Rube broke his own cardinal rule of avoiding one's past life and mailed a large sum of cash to his widow and daughter.
Rube is the "foreman" of the group of grim reapers at the center of the series. He gets the list of who is to die, when and where, from an unnamed shadowy individual and then transfers the first initial and last name of the person, where they are to die, and their estimated time of death (ETD) to a Post-it note and assigns them to the Reapers. He enjoys eating and cooking.
Although he comes off as gruff and aloof, he actually cares for his team like a father, and is particularly fond of George Lass, the newest "recruit" to his small team of Reapers.
He claims to have reaped Amelia Earhart. Rube gets irritated at fellow Reaper Mason's antics and frequently calls him a "fuck-up." However, he suspects that Mason is smarter than he seems. A skilled shell game operator, Rube once taught Mason techniques from the game, which he used to sell a line of kitchen appliances. The disappearance of Betty Rhomer, a Reaper with whom he worked since her own death in 1926, disturbed him greatly. He hates computer keyboards, claiming they are too fragile as compared to typewriters, and avoids using them, and by extension computers, whenever possible.
One of the more mysterious of the Reapers featured on Dead Like Me, his full name wasn't revealed until the episode Death Defying. His date of death was never made explicit, but implied to be the earliest of the known reapers, save recurring ex-colleague Penny. Mason jokes in "Rites of Passage", "Rube's so fucking old, he reaped Jesus." In "Ghost Story" George thinks Rube probably reaped Houdini.
In a major character arc during the second season, he was greatly upset when he discovered that a package of money that he had sent after his death to his daughter and wife in 1927 was never delivered, and embarked upon a quest to find out why. While he searched public record archives, during which he found the death certificate for his wife, he discovered a wanted poster that indicated he was a bank robber. His daughter's birth certificate describes his wife of being of Czechoslovakian origin and 24 years old at the time of his daughter's birth, maiden name being Lucy Sonia Debrowski. Rube's full name is revealed here, as well as his stated occupation of salesman and that he was 49 years old at her birth. His daughter's full name is Rose Anne Sofer. Their address was 243 Georgian Lane. Lucy's death certificate was discovered but not shown, but her gravestone shows that her year of birth was 1901 and her date of death was 1941, consistent with the age given on her daughter's birth certificate.
His daughter Rosie was born on 19 March 1925, according to her birth certificate in "Death Defying" (but in 1922 according to her gravestone in Haunted) and lived at a nursing home until her death in 2004. Fellow reaper Penny (Yeardley Smith) (who died on the Titanic, referred to as a "boating accident") led Rube to Rosie, so Rube could be with her when she died. When Rube sat with her in the garden of the nursing home, Rosie recognized Rube as her father.
Five years after George becomes a member of his group of reapers, Rube is unexpectedly missing when the other members of the Club arrive to see Der Waffle Haus is burned down. The other members found this strange, but eventually assumed that he had "got his lights" and moved on to the afterlife.