Russell's Story

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July 22, 1917—June 13, 2015 Russell Charles Koepke died in East Lansing, MI, June 13, 2015. Russ was born July 22, 1917, in Chicago, IL, and later lived in Plymouth, MI, and Fairfield Glade, TN. Russ survived the Great Depression and Second World War to marry Ruth Franzenburg while they were both in uniform in 1945. After the war, Russ and Ruth returned to Chicago to start their life together and begin the family that grew to eight children by 1961. Russ Koepke received his Bachelor of Philosophy in economics at Loyola University, Chicago, in 1939 and completed a graduate program in business management and finance at University of Chicago in 1950. Russ worked as a manager in finance for Ford Motor Company for 30 years and provided shelter, security, education and love to his large family. He also contributed his energies to the loving ideals of his church and his favorite causes including recycling, peace, justice and racial and gender equality. Russ was a caring and devoted husband who enjoyed rising early every morning to make coffee for Ruth. He and Ruth moved to Fairfield Glade to spend the last 28 of their 70 years together. There, they were surrounded by old and new friends and graciously hosted visits from their children, grandchildren and extended family. Ruth Franzenburg Koepke died in October of 2014. Russ’ committed work toward peace flowed from his optimism. He was non-dogmatic in his beliefs and open minded in his tolerance of all. Russ Koepke was a man of great faith in the goodness of people, the beauty of the natural world, and the power of love. A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 7503 Peavine Rd., Fairfield Glade. Contributions in Russ’ memory may be made to Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club, 2501 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60618 (www.nbgc.org) or Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 (www.splcenter.org). A reception has been planned at the Library Room at Druid Hills following the committal service in St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church columbarium. The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff of Timber Ridge in East Lansing, MI, and Good Samaritan Society in Fairfield Glade, TN, for their outstanding care. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Chapel. On line condolences may be made at www.greastlansing.com.
Published on  June 22, 2015
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