MIDDLETON- Russell. E. Gessler, age 85, passed away on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 at Badger Prairie in Verona with loving family around him.

He was born on Aug. 7, 1927, Verona, the son of Joseph and Lillian (McCaughey) Gessler; he was the youngest of 7 children. A 1946 graduate of Madison West High School, Russ proudly served his country with the U.S. Marine Corps. He also joined the Reserves and served in Korea in 1950.

After returning home, he married Carol “Beth” Hurd on Nov. 1, 1952. He was a lifeguard at Mendota Beach and was a ski jumper during the 1940s and 50s; and downhill skied up until the age of 75; skiing with all of his grandchildren. He enjoyed many years of playing baseball for Middleton Home Talent and was an avid golfer; achieving a hole-in-one two times! He was an avid Packers and Badgers fan and also enjoyed fishing, bowling and spending time with his many family members and friends, and was active in the community.

He worked 34 years at Cuna Mutual Insurance Society, retiring in 1985 as Assistant Vice President of Administrative Services; a position that allowed him (accompanied by his wife) to travel to many parts of the U.S. After his retirement, he and Beth spent many weeks in Panama City Beach, FL. Russ was a long time member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church. He spent his last years in assisted living and nursing care at Waunakee Manor and then at Badger Prairie. Russ' family will be forever grateful for the exceptional care he received at both facilities.

Russ is survived by his wife, Carol “Beth”; children, Susan Adler, Tim (Penny) Gessler and Paul Gessler; and 8 grandchildren, Kyle and Joshua Adler, Kristen Stark (Brian), Nathaniel, Alex, Zachary, Travis and Adriana Gessler. He is also survived by in-laws, Phyllis Gessler, Ruth and Arnie Mier, Ethel Hurd, Mavis Hurd Fieber and Esther Fortier. He is preceded in death by his parents; a son-in-law, Steve Adler; three brothers, Berton, Robert (Lolaire), and Vernon (Mary); three sisters, Vera (Lee) Damman, Beatrice (Danny) Jacobsen and Anita (Eugene) Olson; in-laws, Richard Hurd, David Hurd, Jack Hurd, Robert and Hazel Hurd, Vernona and Bill Linley, and Jerome Fieber.Gunderson_Funeral

The funeral service will be held at ST. LUKE'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, 7337 Hubbard Ave., Middleton at 4 PM on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 with the Rev. Heather Lampert presiding. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 from 4 PM until 7 PM at GUNDERSON WEST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 7435 University Ave, Middleton and at 3pm until the time of service on Thursday at St. Luke’s.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Middleton Outreach Ministry, Alzheimer's Association, or Wisconsin Parkinson's Association.