Russell D. Harper, age 72 of Chesterton, IN, passed away on July 22, 2022. He was born on October 6, 1949 in Detroit, MI to Willie Martin Harper and Norma Gene (Cook) Harper, both of whom preceded him in death.
On August 6, 1977 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, he married the love of his life, Diane Nicholson Harper, who survives in Chesterton, IN. He is also survived by his siblings: Jimmie Harper of Georgia, Kristi Thornburgh of Alabama, Kathy Bradley of Alabama, and Evelyn Harper of Alabama; his brothers-in-law, William (Marilyn) Nicholson of Chesterton, IN, James (Prescott Handley) Nicholson of St. Cloud, MN, and Thomas Nicholson of Chesterton, IN; his several nieces and nephews; and by his beloved puppy, Sadie.
In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his sisters, Betty Cunningham, Barbara Wilson, and Bonnie Robertson; and by his brother, Willie Harper.
Russ enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968. Based on high test scores he was chosen to enter the elite electronics encryption program, where after 6 months of intense classroom and laboratory training, he spent his military career with top secret clearance in information control center.
After the military, Russ’ lifelong career was in consumer electronics, initially with his own shops in Michigan and Indianapolis. Eventually he became a Field Service Engineer for GE, and rose to become one of the only three of that company’s national consumer electronics trainers.
Russ loved fishing. He had a special trick that almost never failed to land good-sized bass.
Generations of Chesterton children adored him in his role as the official Tin Man in the heyday of the annual Wizard of OZ Festival. He made his costume himself from sheet aluminum, a lot of rivets, silver fabric, and a shiny funnel. He had a big heart for the children and often imagined that his Tin Man still resides in many hundreds of memories and photo albums.
Russ was also a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator for many years. He would get calls for advice long after he could no longer care for the orphaned and injured foxes, woodchucks, raccoons, fawns, owls, hawks, and more.
Most of all, Russ had a clever and delightfully quirky sense of humor that expressed itself always, even throughout most of his long illness. He was a brilliant man who could fix anything and an adoring husband.
The family would like to thank the Northwest Health Porter EMS and Medical ICU staff, and the Pines Volunteer Fire Department for their sensitive and invaluable care in recent weeks.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, July 28, 2022 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at White-Love Funeral Home, 525 S 2nd St., Chesterton, IN. A Graveside service will be held on Friday, July 29, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Furnessville Cemetery.
Please share your wonderful memories with the family at: www.whitelovefuneralhome.com.