Missy, Scott and Steven, Colleen and I were so very sorry to hear about Russ. Please forgive the belated memory. I just didn't know what to say at the time. I had the pleasure of working and laughing with Russ while he was with Moore.... mostly laughing. Russ had a great sense of humor and was quick to pull your leg if he could. I remember once he rented a basketball goal for a meeting we had at a Dulles Airport Hotel. We played HORSE with the Sales team and told them if Management wins (Jeff Relick, Russ and myself) they keep the old compensation plan which had lower commissions. If they win, they get the new plan. As it turned out, Management won and the sales Reps went nuts... The funniest part was this was all staged to get the Reps to cooperate and work better together. We let them stew all night about it and they did some great bonding together working on a plan to pitch us in the morning. We finally told them we were kidding and everyone had a great laugh. Russ was a role model to me in his commitment to family. He is loved and missed. Peter and Colleen Morich Marietta, GA
I haven't seen Russ since high school, but my memory of him is clear: a fun-loving, kind person of great character. I've come to this site many times in this last year. In reviewing the photos and memories that everyone has posted here, I am heartened to learn that Russ' life, though cut short, was so wonderfully rich -- in what he did and who he was -- for friends, colleagues, and family. Although I haven't seen Russ in decades, I am drawn to (and inspired by) the memories here, and I join you in missing him. My thoughts and best wishes to Russ' family and friends. Bruce Henderson
My name is Fran Keefe, I met Russ in August of 1969, we were in the same dorm together as freshmen at Nichols College. We quickly became best buds and ended up becoming roomates our Freshman and Sophmore years. We both became floor Proctors and I got assigned to another dorm but we still remained the best of friends. We played Hockey together at Nichols, which in itself was not an easy thing back in those days....we had to drive to Worcester, Mass, a one hour drive each way, just to practice and where we played most of our games. Russ and I shared the driving.....we had many laughs on those long late nights during the wintertime...once I had to pull over to let Russ vomit after a game when he had the flu, I can't believe I remembered that!! Russ assisted me on my 1st goal at Nichols, we both celebrated on the ice like we had just won the Stanley Cup!! Russ was a good player in college, a solid defenseman, Russ never backed down from the physical play....actually I think he enjoyed it.....once we had a huge fight, a riot really, after a game with the fans at the Univ of Connecticut...had to have the police escort our bus back out of there, we laughed about it all the way back to Nichols. Russ and I always came out of the dressing room to start each period next to each other, kind of a superstition....once I came out and hit the ice with tape on the bottom of my skate and as I hit the ice I fell like a ton of bricks in front of a big crowd....no one laughed louder at me than Russ Wenzel...we doubled up laughing about it for weeks after that. We played baseball together for only 1 year and while I played soccer in the fall there I got to watch Russ play football...he was a great defensive end, Captain and the team's place kicker for 4 years....it was even suggested that I be Russ's holder once, but cooler heads prevailed after we asked the coaches about it. I once drove him to the hospital during a game when he got what we now call a stinger....his arm turned blue but he was back out there the next game, Russ was one tough cookie. We both majored in marketing at Nichols and had all the same classes together for almost the entire 4 years. After we graduated, we both went to the Bahamas together for a week to celebrate and had a blast, Russ loved spending time in the Casino at the BlackJack tables....he did pretty good if I remember right. Russ had a wonderful mom and dad in Art and Joyce. I remember once riding shotgun with Russ all the way to NJ to drop off a friend ,against his parent's wishes and was "met" at the friends NJ home by Art who was not too happy....we were instructed to head straight over to the Wenzel's house where Mr. Wenzel chewed out Russ pretty good for going against his wishes....I was stunned to see how quickly the reprimand came to an end when Russ was hugged and kissed by both his mom+dad and were sent back off into the snowy night to head back to Nichols up in Massachusetts....I remember Art whispering to me that if Russ got tired driving I was to take over, which I did later on that evening. I have a million stories about our college days, too many to share here but when I think back to my many wonderful experiences at Nichols College they always begin and end with Russ Wenzel.......Rest in Peace, my friend.
**Posted by Lori Sneddon Clair** Dear Wenzel Family, My heart is truly breaking for your loss. It's been since the early 1970's since I last saw Russ and it appears a hole new generation has grown-up. It seems like he just got married a few years ago. I hope he and Grandpa Wenzel are right now having a Zero bar together. If any of the family is interested in getting in touch, please feel free to contact me at 706 332-6718. I'll keep Russ in my thoughts, Melissa, you in my prayers and hopes that no more tragedies happen in the family. Thank you, Lori Sneddon Clair.
We have so many great memories of Russ that it's hard to pick one...from the great dinners at the beach to the fun happy hours at Nardi's. All we did was laugh! LBI will never be the same. Every where we looked something reminded us of you and Russ. He was such a good guy. Missy our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Please let's not loose touch. love, Mark and Evie Scalera
Tribute to Russell Wenzel It was Monday, September 10, 1973, when I first met Russ in our BSMD sales training class at the Eastman Kodak Marketing Education Center, in Rochester, NY. It wasn’t long before he became one of the people who we all liked to be around, with his inviting smile, his command of sports topics, and his kidding around, and the showing of an indescribable photo which he claimed to be of himself. He was a riot and a lot of fun throughout our time in training. We had fun in class and out of class. We played touch football some evenings, golf on weekends, and had a few libations here and there. Russ and I went to Cleveland, Ohio, on our field training trip; and upon graduation later, we were both assigned to the Cleveland BSMD District office. Later, we were joined by another classmate, David Lewis, who had previously gone to Michigan, and sometime after, the three of us became the district’s Financial/Public Service Markets sales team. Still later, I was to assume a number of Russ’s public service markets accounts, where I found he had forged many close friendships, particularly in the cities of Cleveland, Youngstown and Painesville. His customers all loved him; he was always being asked about. Russ had moved to an apartment when we first came to live in Akron, Ohio. He met Missy, they got married, and my wife and I danced at their wedding. I met his mom and dad, his brother Ray and his wife, and even danced with Ray’s wife at the wedding. Russ and Missy lived in the Merriman Valley area of Akron and later moved to Stow, Ohio. I remember one of his parties where I proceeded to walk from the dining room to the deck through what I thought was an open door…it didn’t hurt! We all laughed! I have returned to that home in Stow a few times in recent years, as the sister of a Chinese friend of mine now makes her home there, and I have visited whenever my friend comes in from Hong Kong. As Missy knows so well, we were all a big happy family in the Cleveland District. We did a whole lot of things together, and went to a lot of places for work and play. Places such as, San Diego, CA; Boston & Cape Cod, MA; Toronto, Can.; The U.S. Open; baseball, football, and basketball games, and always the old Flats of Cleveland. From time to time, all the guys used to stop for a beer at the end of the day, on the ground floor of our downtown Cleveland office building. I remember the night I got really sick after a bottle or two – no more, I was never a big drinker – I was very happy that Russ was there, as he was the one who offered to take me home, while I left my car in the downtown parking garage, and to get me back to work the next morning. He was such a great and caring friend! I hadn’t seen or heard from or of Russ for almost twenty years. But he, like so many of the wonderful people that I worked with at Kodak, has been indelibly etched in my memory with the utmost fondness. And though, after twenty years, I had gone onto a great and stress-free life of freedom and pleasures, it was the greatest of all the time of my life, and I’m glad Russ was a part of it! Missy, if Mike Teutsch hadn’t seen my son junior, when they were both picking up their daughters from band camp in Hudson, and told him of having just attended Russ’ funeral, where my name was mentioned by Bruce Splaine, I might never, ever, have heard of Russ’ passing. I’m therefore very grateful to Mike for the information. Attie and I share your loss with shock and deep sadness. We wish you, your sons Scott and Steve, Russ’ parents, his brother Ray and his family, and all of your extended families, our deepest sympathy for the untimely loss of your loved-one, Russell Wenzel. May you all be comforted always by the love for him that is embedded in your collective memories. Carlton & Athelin Barnett Copley, Ohio
I remember meeting Russ in 1996, when I first started dating Corey. He was very funny and just a good guy, he made me feel welcome. Every time the family got together you could count on Russ to be very funny & approachable. I will miss him and his sense of humor very much. I am thankful for all of the good times I have had with him and his family. My son Ryan always calls him Uncle Rusty and Russ would get a kick out of that. Ryan too is very sad and misses Russ very much. It is the first time that I as a father have had to explain to him what it means when someone in your family passes on. We both will always remember the good times that we shared. My prayers and Love go out to my Father-In-Law Ray and his parents Art & Joyce Wenzel. I love all of you very much.
It was amazing having Mr. Wenzel for a neighbor. My mother would always have me or one of my brothers mow the lawn so as to keep up with always green, always perfectly landscaped Wenzel's lawn. If ever he saw one of us coming home or mowing the lawn Mr. Wenzel would always smile wave hello. Most every evening, if I saw Mr. Wenzel, he would be wearing his tride and true bright blue, red and white windbreaker and be running around the court. He was more in shape and I was, but more importantly he was a great neighbor that everyone wishes they could have.
Russ was a true gentleman and friend who never stopped smiling. In his own eyes, he could never do enough to support his family and friends. He spoke often of his Missy, Scott and Steve. He was a very humble man but openly very proud to be blessed with such a wonderful family. His door was always open at work and at his home. The memories of the guys getting out for our annual AGS fishing trips out on the bay for those big rock fiish will go on forever. You will be truly missed by all. Thanks for always being there for me! To Missy, Scott and Steve... you have been blessed to have been loved by one of the most sincere and honest men I have ever met. If there is anything we can to for you we are here for you. Larry and Jeanie Oakley
Dear Missy, Scott, and Steve~ The Six family is so very sad to hear about Russ.. While the years and miles have separated us, we all remember Russ fondly -always ready with a laugh, a quick, warm smile and a kind heart. We hope that time and your precious memories of such a wonderful husband and father will gradually ease the pain of your loss. Know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Take care, Love from us all, Fred, Deby, Brian, Kelly and Katie
It was a true honor to have known Russ, what a wonderful person. I have nothing but positive memories of all our interactions at Kodak, some funny, some serious but always, good. He always had a smile, a great laugh and a positive outlook on things! We will also always have the memory of Russ and Missy dancing at our wedding. Joe and I are unable to attend tomorrow's service, but our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Fondly, Leann and Joe Watson
To the Wenzel family, I want to extend my condolences for the loss of Russ. I had the pleasure of working with Russ and could clearly see how much family meant to him. I will truly miss our conversations, his laughter, sense of humor and positive energy. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Russ’ passing is a tragic loss for everyone who knew him.
To the Wenzel Family and all Friends of Russ, Words cannot express the sadness I felt when my aunt called me last Sunday night with the news of Russ; Joyce had just phoned her. I first met Russ in our little league days when he was on the Eagles and was on the Jays; naturally, he wore #7, Mick's number. We immediately became friends, and I count him as one of my closest all through our school days in Chatham. As classmates, teammates, and just plain great buddies, we shared so many experiences growing up. The first touchdown I ever made in a real football game was a pass thrown to me by Russ in a freshman game against Verona; he put it right on the money. We went to Yankee games together, hung out at the Jersey shore each August, and double dated in high school; Russ, another friend, and I brought our girlfriends down to Russ's house on LBI after the senior prom and spent the weekend with Russ's family. We went to the Atl City racetrack and had a great time. I do have one story which I'm quite sure the great story teller got plenty of mileage from over the years: the firecracker incident. Russ and I were about 15, and we were down at the shore on vacation. A couple of our other friends from Chatham were there as well. One evening we decided to have some fun with some firecrackers I had...they were M80s and pretty powerful. We were down by the bay and thought it would be interesting to see how loud one would sound in an enclosed area, like a phone booth (nobody said we were smart). We stuck the fuse in a cigarette, lit it, and went down the road a bit to wait. Time went by and nothing happened, but no one wanted to go check on it. Then a car pulled up, a man and woman got out, and they walked over to the booth. As they pulled the door open, BOOM!! We took off and must have run five blocks, roaring with laughter as we went. When we caught our breaths, I wondered if anything bad had happened, and I continued to worry about it the rest of the night. The next day, Russ the prankster, and his dad set me up pretty good. Without filling in all the details, I was soon walking off the beach with my parents to confess to the police. Just then, Russ comes running up toward us, laughing, telling me it was just a joke. I was so relieved, I wasn't even angry...though my father did take the rest of the fireworks away. We laughed about that for years, and as a result I was named "most gullible" in our senior class. Funny stories aside, Russ and I shared that special bond that friends growing up together all have.. He was at my house during the great reunion in '97, and we have from time to time kept in touch via email ever since. In our adult lives, we were separated geographically, but I know if we lived near one another all these years, we would have been together the same as when we were kids. I will always treasure our memories and friendship. I will miss him.
Jason and I had the honor of photographing the wedding of Russ's son and daughter-in-law, Steve and Amanda. We had only known Russ for a weekend, but in that weekend, Jason and I took away a lifetime memory of what a great man he was. He was always beaming with a smile and making others around him laugh. He actually had this robust laugh that would cause me to laugh just hearing it. I know that before the weekend was over, my stomach ached from laughing so much. Russ had these funny wax teeth that he sported during the rehearsal. I'm surprised those images didn't come out blurry because I was cracking up so hard behind the lens. Jason and I were so touched by how kind he was. He was always checking up on us and making sure that we were comfortable and accommodated. I knew that he loved his family more than anything by the way he spoke and interacted with them. While shooting his toasts, I hid behind the camera with tears in my eyes. Here was a great storyteller who was just so passionately proud of his family. To the Wenzel family, our heart aches for you. May the love and joyful memories that he has touched upon the world help you find solace.
Missy … We will always remember the fun times in the old days of the 70’s when we were at your wedding in Ohio, vacationing on LBI and having the most fun ever on New Year’s Eve with you, Russ, Ray and Carolyn at The Library in Morristown. Russ was such a comic, we guess with all the troubles in the World, God needed a laugh at the end of each day and now he has Russ to bend his ear with his hilarious stories each day … Bruce and Molly Burgess
Hey Russ- I am so happy that we spoke last Friday before this happened. We touched on the kids, Missy, Crissy and Brian's upcoming wedding, and your upcoming plans of coming up to Scott and Carol's home on LBI. But what strikes me most is that we spent the majority of our conversation discussing the Yankees and the moves they needed to make to win another World Championship. I have started to read all of the great tributes to you and I am glad that everyone realizes that you are a "clown" and so much fun to be around. I know that you wanted an Irish type of service with a lot of laughter. So, in speaking with the Ferguson brothers, Michael and Tom, I have gotten their approval to make you Irish for a day. I guarantee that we will honor your request and I will hold no punches in telling about the great and funny guy that you are. You will always be will us and I know that you are in a "better place". I started a family motto to rally around: "Chin up and keep laughing". Believe me, we will. I will be back in touch. Ray
We were so saddened when Debi and Chris told us about Russ. We looked forward to summers in LBI and our dinner adventures with Russ and Missy. Russ was so much fun and had the best stories (especially the tale of his "marathon"). Our thoughts and prayers are with Missy and all their family. Jean and Jim Romeo
Each year at this time, Russ and Missy (and the ‘kids’) vacation in our upstairs apartment on the bay on Long Beach Island (the same street as Art and Joyce’s house). A week ago we received a call from Russ’ nephew with the unthinkable news. Over the years we’ve become friends with Russ and Missy – looking forward to each year’s visit to get the update on all things Wenzel – while we provided the update on the neighborhood goings on. And Russ’ humor would weave it all together. This year rather than hearing Russ and Missy laugh, seeing them enjoy the visits from Steve and Scott and sharing a beer or two along the way – the house is empty. And so too are our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with Missy and the boys – as well as with Art and Joyce. Carol and Scott Townsley
Russ and I met more than 35 years ago , while working for Kodak in Ohio. We became fast friends as well as business colleagues. Over the years our relationship expanded to include our wives (Kathy & Missy) and eventually their two boys (Scott & Steve). Although the passing years took us in different professional directions, we always stayed in contact via phone and, occasionally ,a face-to-face visit . Thankfully, Kathy and I had one last opportunity to see Russ, and the rest of the Wenzel family, at the recent wedding of Steve and Mandy. As always, this event was filled with lots of laughs, storytelling about the "good old days" in Ohio , talk about getting together again soon and a number of "man-hugs". Russ was and always will be one of my best "lifetime" friends. He will always be in my thoughts and prayers and will forever be "My Friend Russ"
Missy, Scott and Steven, Debi and I were so very sorry to hear about Russ. We always enjoy seeing you all in LBI each summer. The nights we would go out for dinner were always filled with laughter. Russ was a great storyteller and could spin almost any story into a funny Wenzel episode. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers. Chris and Debi Thedinga
We just heard the news from Mike Ferguson and although we haven't seen Russ in quite some time, as a member of the proud "Kodak Family", he was a joy to be with, work with and call a friend. Our deepest sympathies go out to the entire Family. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of you. Brian & Kathy Jablonski
Russ and Missy have been my friends for over 25 years. We met in Rochester, New York through Eastman Kodak. I remember dinners at the Penfield Inn and stomach muscles aching the following day from all the laughter at one of Russ' stories. He was a master storyteller and when he smiled, you could just see his eyes twinkle with mischief! He will be greatly missed by everyone. Missy, Scott, and Stephen, my heart aches for you. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort and peace in all the wonderful memories you hold in your heart.
Steve, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I will always remember his extremely positive attitude and how he also was a very keen observer. I was on the tennis team at Mary Washington with Steve and I will forever be impressed with Steves work ethic and attitude while on the team. Steve always used to get to the practice courts early before everyone else to work hard on his game. Steve also had some tough setbacks with injuries but he never quit trying to get back to his 100 percent self and always kept a positive attitude. Steve, I will always have the utmost respect for you. After reading all of the tributes to Russ, I have no doubt that Steve learned how to be a great man from Russ. Steve, I know you always made your father very proud by the way you conducted yourself and still do on a daily basis.
Melissa, Scott and Steve, Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. Family and friends will gather and your love and faith will see you through this painful journey. May there be peace within for all of those who suffer this loss. Elizabeth Morris KMBS San Bernardino, CA
With deepest sympathy to the Wenzel family and friends. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.
My deepest condolances are extended to Russ's family and friends. I am a new KMBS employee way over here in Spokane, WA, and when the notice came about Russ's accident, my heart went out to you all. I lost my daughter and her baby boy in a tragic car accident 6 years ago, and knowing the confusion and grief that comes at a time like this, I just wanted to let you know that my heart and prayers are with you. It is obvious by the tender tributes to Russ that he was wonderful man. May you be comforted and blessed in the days ahead by all those loving family and friends. Sincerely, Gretchen Mark
My deepest condolences to the Wenzel family, friends and colleagues at this time. My prayers and thoughts are with you. Stacy Jo McDermott KMBS Oakland, CA
My deepest condolences to the entire Wenzel family. I am Marita Farley Hynes (Chatham HS '69) - known to Ray as the girlf rom Puerto Rico. I hope to bring a smile to your face as I relate one of my fondest memories of Russ. It was 8th grade and I was new to school. Dave O'Brien told me that Russ "liked" me (although we had hardly spoken) and" would I like to be his girlfriend?". I said,"sure" and the "romance" was on.You know how it was in 8th grade. I remember fondly the 8th grade dance - my first date ever. Art drove. Clearly Art had instructed Russ on how to be gentleman ( Art, you did a great job - "gentleman" is an adjective we all seem to mention here) Anyway, in the car, after the dance, Russ exited left and proceeded around the back of the car to open the door for me on the right. I was so nervous to be in the car with Art, I had followed Russ out the left door. When Russ opened the door for me on the right I was already gone. He poked his head in with a where did she go ?? look on his face. Priceless Kodak moment. Doors open everywhere and lost the girl somewhere inside. While it has been 30 years since we last spoke, I count Russ as one of my best friends in life. All of the class of "69 had been recenlty been passing emails updating classmates as to our whereabouts since our reunion was cancelled. Russ wrote to me last Friday afternoon. Hours before the accident. He mentioned that Missy and I have joined the sisterhood of survivors of this terrible disease. WE WILL BE FINE!! I had planned to call on Monday. It's hard to believe that I am writing this instead.. Art and Joyce, you raised a wonderful son - one of the best - charming, handsome, funny athletic, and most of all a true gentleman. He loved you deeply, Missy - stars in his eyes at your engagement celebration! I am sorry to have lost contact over these years, but his spirit will live in my heart forever. Missy, Art, Joyce, Ray and family - you are in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless you. Marita Farley Hynes
I met Russ shortly after he first started managing the KMBS DC branch office in Greenbelt MD. We instantly connected with our passion to do the best we could to serve others. Russ was a wonderful person to work with and very inspirational. His presence is already severly missed! I will cherish the memory of the last conversation he had with Elgin Guthrie and myself the last day I saw him. We were standing in the parking lot thinking of creative ways to improve the DC branch operations. He had a big smile on his face that afternoon which I'm sure he is now permanently wearing in heaven! Darby Austen RSC Konica Minolta
Russ and I attended the same KMDI Management Training program back in 2008, shortly after he joined our company. We got to know each other throughout that week and I learned that we had hired a true professional and a great leader. My condolences to all family and friends. Dan Labow
WOW...This came as a shock to us all. I met Russ in training about a year ago in St. Petersburg, FL. He was always listening to what everyone had to say, absorbing it all, and when he did speak it everyone listened. He spoke with humor and experience. I only had the opportunity to meet him that week, but I am glad I had the chance to meet such a distinguised gentleman. The Wenzel Family is in my thoughts and prayers. Shawn Donelson Iselin, NJ (Formerly Danka Jamesburg)
I only knew Russ for a short time but found him to be very enjoyable and a true professional. My condolences to his family. Gary Kurtis Sales Manager KMBS NOVA
Russ, It's crazy just last week I was taking advantage of your open door policy. Something that I did quite often and no matter how busy you were. You stopped what you were doing and listening, laughed, and sometimes you told me a short story of your experiences in the business. Your were so optomistic about everything in life. It is so unfair that you were taken from us and you would probably say, well we are not promise tomorrow (with that smile of yours). I will never forget you Russ! Get well Susan, Russ wanted that so much for you. Thanks for being an outstanding boss, listening, teaching, and being a friend. Semper Fi!
Russ and I had a good laugh one day during a Koday meeting towards the end of his 20 year tenure. Speaking about why it took a few minutes for the 1575 dgital printer to process a small 20Kb file, Russ commented "hey, it uses V1 Sparc technology. Sun said to Kodak Exec mgmt, we have a warehouse full of V1 Sparc processors for cheap and Kodak responded, we'll buy em all". Such was the life of that division and product. Greg Haymans
When I think of Russ so many good memories come flooding into my mind. I think the most enduring for me is meeting him just about every morning at the coffee machine when we worked at Kodak. He'd pull me aside and give me the "joke du jour". We would cackle for a few minutes and then whenever we saw each other during the day, we'd crack up again. I think he enjoyed making me blush and I don't blush easy! I so enjoyed his happy spirit and good humor. My husband, Tim, and I loved our foursome dinners at the Wenzels. Missy and Russ were wonderful hosts--very caring but, again, most memorable were all the laughs. Everyone always had a great time around them. BTW, Russ' lawn did always look pristeen. We always marveled at it! Our thoughts and prayers go out to Missy, Scott, Stephen and the whole family.