Heaven gained a beautiful soul on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Age 92. Beloved husband of Muriel (nee Morton) Launder for 68 years. Loving father of James Launder, Kathleen Launder (Roy Bergold), Mary Launder (Allen Green), Susan Launder-Becker (John Becker) and Christine (Eric) Nelson. Proud grandfather of Mario (Julieann) Launder and Sonia Launder, Adele Becker and John Russell Becker, Amber Sorcic, Lucas Nelson and Paul Nelson. Cherished great-grandfather of Collin, Alexis, Camdon, Mateo, Everly, Kara, and Lydia. Also loved by many other family and friends.
Russell grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, loving son of Estelle Launder. He met the love of his life, Muriel in Harmony class at Juneau High School in 1942. They were high school sweethearts and became Prom King and Queen; the one time he was higher than his classmate, Astronaut Jim Lovell. He later enlisted in the United States Navy. After being honorably discharged, he began working at Pfister & Vogel Tanning Company, retiring in 2002 after 50 years. While there, he served as the President of American Leather Chemists Association from 1993 to 1994, affording him the opportunity to travel internationally.
He enjoyed playing music. Beginning with the trumpet in grade school and later went on to play in various bands. He was the First Chair as well as a soloist in the All City Band of Milwaukee. He also was a leader of the Joe Banana and His Bunch the Band with “Appeal”.
Russ was a golf and tennis enthusiast. He was a medalist in the Badger State Games for Tennis. He also received the Bucky Badger Award for his fundraising efforts for the UW soccer team in 1996.
As a leader in his community, Russell served in many capacities. This included serving as a board member for UW-Waukesha Foundation. He was also President and represented the campus on the UW-Colleges Board of Visitors as well as a Golf and Scholarship committee member. He served as a board member of the Waukesha County Historical Society. He enjoyed being a Scout Leader in the Boy Scouts of America for many years. He even received the Spark Plug Award for providing the spark that ignites the energy of others for the betterment of scouting in 1966. Russ was also a strong supporter of Retzer Nature Center.
Russell was a devoted member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and later St. Bruno’s Catholic Church. Most importantly, Russ was a strong supporter of all of his kids and grandkids endeavors such as music, theatre, soccer, basketball, baseball, football and other activities. The family’s prized Ice-Off Trophy was finally awarded to him in 2017 and again in 2019.
Services were held privately. A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to the Russell Launder Memorial Fund at
UWM at Waukesha Foundation, 1500 N. University Drive, Waukesha, WI, 53188.