Russel Eugene Weisbender, 63, of Manhattan, died Monday, June 9, 2014 in Abaco, Marsh Harbor, Bahamas while snorkeling.
The family provided some of the following information.
Russel was born on May 19, 1951, in Manhattan to Alphonse and Violet (Kramer) Weisbender.
Russel attended Manhattan Seven Dolors Catholic School and graduated with honors from Monsignor Luckey High School in 1969.
He was united in marriage to Vickie Lynn Schmedemann on Feb. 11, 1972. Russel and Vickie had two boys, Brian and Eric. Vickie preceded him in death on Nov. 17, 1999.
He was then united in marriage to Donna Currie on June 8, 2001.
Russel was a local general contractor and developer for over 35 years. In 1978, he started Weisbender Contracting, providing affordable housing and services in Manhattan. He was an advocate of fair and equal housing for tenants and landlords. He was also an entrepreneur of many local businesses and trades.
Russel really loved the outdoors. He was a member of the Riley County Fish and Game Association and a member of the Tuttle Creek Lake Association, where he loved to help with the youth fishing clinics. He was an active fisherman and hunter and could be found many days out on the water or in the fields doing what he loved. He had a love of fishing and hunting that he taught and shared in with his two boys and grandsons.
He enjoyed being out on the farm with his wife, Donna, where they took care of two camels, a zebra and a number of cattle. Russel enjoyed raising and training Labradors and using them to hunt pheasant and quail.
He was an avid music collector and enjoyed classic rock/pop such as the Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bob Dylan, Eagles, and the list could go on.
He was a supporter of Manhattan Parks and Recreation, mainly boys baseball and girls softball. He was a supporter of the Manhattan High Booster Club and cheered for Manhattan High football.
He enjoyed snow skiing in Colorado and fishing for salmon and halibut in Alaska. He enjoyed being a partner of Ole’ Mikes Shooters Supply and Tackle store with his brother, Mike (deceased).
Russel was many things, and did many things, but more than anything he was the one who kept it all together, family, friends, and work. He touched a great many number of lives in his lifetime and left an impression when he did. He was loved by his family and will be missed.
To sum up Russel’s life, you could put it into just three words, “Good Job God!”
He is survived by his wife, Donna of the home; his son, Brian and wife, Lara, of Manhattan; his son, Eric and wife, Amy, of Lakewood, Colo.; and five grandchildren, Joshua, Lucas, Jeremiah, Ashlyn and Elijah. Additional survivors include a sister, Teresa Gunther of Lake Havasu, Ariz.; and five brothers, Carl (Juanita) of Flush, John (Bev) of Knob Noster, Mo., David (Linda) of Manhattan, Tim (Gay) of Manhattan, and Rick of Manhattan; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Vickie; his brother, Mike; and a grandson, Isaiah.
Cremation is planned. A reception celebrating the life of Russ will be held from 2 until 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the Wareham Opera House, 410 Poyntz Ave.
At 3 p.m., Bob McCarthy will preside with reflections on the life of Russ followed by an open microphone time for those wishing to share a story.
The family welcomes your attendance and invites you to come and go at your convenience.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established for the Kansas Children’s Service League, Homecare and Hospice, Inc, and the Tuttle Creek Lake Association (Youth Fishing Clinic). Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.