Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Russell Glatz, it is easy to see the unending devotion he had for his loved ones. He experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, but nothing was better than sharing these things with his family and friends. It was no secret that Russ was married to the love of his life, and he was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include the numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were some of the most trying days we have faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and things only became more dire when a drought covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years during this time. Despite the trials around them, Emil and Edith (Nichols) Glatz were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Russell E. on February 23, 1930, in Wyandotte, Michigan. The youngest of five, his father was 59 when Russ was born while his mother was in her forties. Joined in his family by his siblings, his father died when he was 15 so Russ worked to help support the family in addition to holding down his studies at local schools. He went on to graduate from Roosevelt High in 1948.
Not to be forgotten during this time was Russ’ introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Janet Muenchausen, and they were friends who liked to roller skate together. They even dated some, but when Russ went into the Army he was sent overseas to serve in Korea from 1951 through 1953. Their paths crossed again, literally, when Russ had returned stateside and they passed one another on the street. Feelings were rekindled, and they soon eloped to Berne, Indiana, and became husband and wife on June 30, 1954, when Russ was 24 and Janet was 19. The newlyweds settled in Downriver Detroit where he worked as a lineman for Michigan Bell. He loved his work as he really enjoyed being outside. In fact, Russ even turned down promotions that would have required him to be behind a desk.
Together Russ and Janet welcomed two children, Wayne in 1956 and Lisa in 1964, into their hearts and home. As a family they enjoyed boating and going to Boblo Island. In the 1970s, they moved to Cheboygan, Michigan, or “God’s country” as Russ called it. They lived on a farm near Mullet Lake, which gave them lots of opportunities to do some water-skiing. They also had horses, Cinnamon and Domingo, and dogs were also a regular part of their family, many times Irish Setters. Russ and Janet remained in Cheboygan until grandchildren began arriving in 1995 when they moved to Grand Rapids to be closer.
Throughout his life Russ was a man of many interests who preferred to be busy. He like riding motorcycles and once rode in a charity ride from Grand Rapids to the Mackinac Bridge at midnight to raise money for JDRF when he was in his late seventies. He and Janet enjoyed traveling in their motorhome, and they also liked swing and ballroom dancing together. Around home Russ was often tinkering and fixing things as he liked just puttering around. After he gave up smoking he was always chewing gum, and it has been said that he wasn’t afraid to put it back in the packaging to use at a later time. Russ loved listening to Lawrence Welk, and he was a huge fan of the Avengers TV show. His favorite meal was “city chicken,” which is actually fried veal.
Life was forever changed for Russ with the death of his beloved wife in 2001. He continued to dance with Widowed Persons Dances, and although he dated a bit he determined that he could never love anyone like he loved Janet. Russ also never stopped talking about her. He continued to pour into the lives of his grandchildren and was there for all their events and activities. In September of 2018, Russ suffered a stroke, so he sold his home and moved in with his grandson, Ethan, who cared for him for the rest of his life.
All who knew Russell Glatz would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was passionate, hardworking, and humble with a humorous side that could even be a bit quirky at times. Russ deeply loved his family, and together he and his wife exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be. Although he will be deeply missed, he will never be forgotten.
GLATZ– Russell Glatz age 89, of Grand Rapids, passed away on January 8, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet; son, Wayne; and siblings. Russ is survived by his daughter, Lisa Glatz; grandchildren, Stephanie Van Oost, Ethan Glatz and Natalie (Nathan) Smith; and several nieces and nephews. He served in the U.S. Army during Korean War and then worked as a lineman for Michigan Bell for over 40 years. The family will gather for a visitation from 5-7 PM on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Interment in Fairplains Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Russ’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook.