Thursday, September 15, 2011

Funeral Card Friday - Pastor Russell

Russell Sterling Roesch was born on January 16, 1935 in Eau Gallie, Florida.  He graduated from Cocoa High School where he was involved in baseball and football.  He went to work as a part-time news correspondent for the Miami Herald writing sports.  He was so talented that the paper wanted him full-time.  But that would mean moving to Miami and that was just out of the question, too far from family. 

He married Ola Kathryn Watts, known as Kathy, the daughter of an American Baptist Minister in 1954.

Russell became a mechanic at the Wienberg-Schumaker Gulf Oil Station in downtown Cocoa, Florida.  But the oil crises in the mid 1970's forced the business to close.  It was while he was working at the garage that Russell believes he received his calling and in 1971 he was ordained and assigned as pastor to the American Baptist Church.

During Russell's preaching years, he reopened Sterling's Garage that his step-father Scott owned and operated prior to his death. Scott was the only father he knew and called him dad.  In 1997 Russell retired the garage business, never to reopen again, but continued preaching until his sudden illness and death.

A year before he died, he gave me the treasured family Bible, that my great grandmother Ada gave to her husband, William Roesch in 1904. 
See story Church Record Sunday - Faith and Family.

The last time I saw my uncle Russell was in the hospital, April 26, 2009.  My husband and I were there for over an hour and had a wonderful visit.  He was talking and laughing and asking all sorts of questions about "Forever Laced", the book I was writing.  He also gave his permission and blessings to write about him and the family.  He said, "I trust and believe in you". He was feeling positive and felt he would be home soon.  I kissed him goodbye and told him "I will see you again before I leave for home in Massachusetts early morning on the 30th".  Sadly, that was not to be.  It broke my heart.

Russell and Kathy
Russell is the Manager of this Junior Baseball team
Russell, top row, far right. (1951)

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