Russell E. Mueller
Russell Ervin Mueller, 89, of Wisconsin Rapids, died on Friday, April 26, 2019 at Arborview Court in Wisconsin Rapids.
He was born on June 2, 1929 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the son of Walter and Edna (Whitrock) Mueller, who welcomed their first born in a new home at 1231 West Grand Avenue in the city. Russell was a 1949 graduate of Lincoln High School. He was a veteran, serving as a Sgt. in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in Korea, from May 1951 to February 1953.
Russell married Shirley Bassler on May 18, 1951 in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. The marriage ended in divorce, but the remained lifelong friends.
In 1955, their family expanded to three with the happy addition of his brother-in-law, Jerry, who lost his mother at that time. Russell met this new responsibility with his usual aplomb. He served as an understanding surrogate father to the 13-year old boy. The two males bonded immediately through their fascination with cars, particularly Studebakers.
Survivors include his former wife, Shirley; his brother, Richard, of Columbia, SC and his brother-in-law, Jerry Bassler, of Greenbrae, CA; his sisters-in-law, Ruth Mueller, of Sarasota, FL and Lucile Lewis, of Chesterfield, VA; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Robert and Ralph.
Russell began his employment as a mechanic at Jensen Motors during and after high school. In 1953, he became employed on the No. 12 paper machine for Consolidated Papers in Wisconsin Rapids and stayed there for 43 years, retiring in February of 1995.
He was an endurance athlete in bike and cross-skiing racing for many decades, well into his 80’s. His competitive participation included 20 Birkebeiner skiing races. Winters found him driving almost daily to Nine-Mile Swamp in Wausau for cross country ski training. He was a long-time member of a state-wide biking club, WisSport, generally traveling around Wisconsin to participate in weekend races. When not competing, he could be found looking for the wily trout in the Brule River or ice fishing at Nepco Lake.
Russell will be best remembered as a kind, gentle, loving man, who voluntarily blew snow from all the neighbor’s driveways, assisted with summer yard work, and sat with their pets while the owners traveled. He gave and received love gracefully and will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
There will be no visitation of remembrance at his request. A private memorial inurnment will be held at the Mueller Family gravesite at a later date.
His family thanks the superb and compassionate care by the staff at Arborview Court for the last six months, as well as, the staff of Heartland Hospice.
Herman-Taylor Funeral Home is assisting the family in coping with their loss.