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Russ Slinkard passed away on April 25, 2021 in Joliet. He was born May 20th, 1937 on the family farm in Jackson, Missouri to Marvin and Mariam Slinkard. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother Donald (1986). He is survived by his loving wife of 33 years Stella, and five children, Bryan (Robin) of Joliet, Lisa (Tim) Sidles of Oswego, Regina (Greg) Orasco of Shorewood, Shannen (Ubaldo) Rojas of Joliet and Shelby (Chad) Mc Carty of Jefferson City, Missouri, 12 grandchildren…Matt and Dan Sidles, Morgan Orasco, Maddy Slinkard, Lillian Ballinger, Alexis Libbert, Alaina Klempke, Cyrus Angel, Reyna, Stella and Aden Guzman, and Nathan Rojas. He is also survived by his brother Bill (Charlotte) of Cape Girardeau, Missouri and sisters Janis (Lewis) Ticer and Robyn (Lynn) Morton, both of Jackson, Missouri along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Russ earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1960. He then graduated from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston with a Masters in Divinity in 1963. He spent about 12 years pastoring in the Methodist Church and after long and careful consideration decided to venture into the business world. He joined Illinois Bell Telephone Co. in 1969 retiring in 1995 when the company was known as Ameritech, he became President/CEO of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce…a position that he loved and held for 19 years. Upon his retirement and to recognize his dedication to the Joliet Community, a plaque renaming the building in his honor was place in the front of the Russ Slinkard Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce Office Building.
In addition to his time as a local businessman, Russ spent many hours volunteering for various organizations in the area. Some of the recipients of his time and talents are, but not limited to United Way of Will County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Will County CED, Junior Achievement, Silver Cross Hospital, Joliet Junior College, Rotary International, University of St. Francis, Easter Seals, Boy Scouts, Rialto Board, YMCA, First Midwest Bank. The Joliet community also recognized the contributions of Russ in many ways including The Friends of Education Award, George Sangmeister Medal of Excellence, Joliet Hall of Pride, Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, Roger Osman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, De LaSalle Award from Lewis University and so much more.
When once asked what is a champion, Russ said “One who fights on behalf of others, one who stands up for what is right, an advocate of highest excellence.” Russ will truly be remembered as a champion for the City of Champions.
He was a diehard St. Louis Cardinal fan his entire life and luckily passed that trait onto his kids.
His most important place in life was that of a husband, father, grandfather, sibling and son. Family was everything to Russ and he lived that until the end.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 29 from 2:00-8:00 PM at Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral, 1500 Black Road, Joliet. Service will be on Friday at 11:00. The service will also be live streamed, link can be found at www.bgsfuneralhome.com and click on the video link. If you care to make donations in Russ’s name, please do so to Grace United Methodist Church in Joliet..
What a wonderful, full life he had. We pray for Russ and the family. God bless you all.
Dave & Char Meiners May 2 2021 12:00 AM
There are people who touch our life and make it better for knowing them. Russ was one of those people. His quick smile, his sense of humor, his calm demeanor all made it a pleasure to spend time with him.
Thank you Russ for sharing your joy of life and your love with all of us.
You will be greatly missed and forever in our hearts.
Marcia, Ted, and Marissa Lanum Apr 30 2021 12:00 AM
We mourn the passing of an incredible, unforgettable man whom we had the pleasure of working with to advance Joliet and the region. Here is one special photo we wanted to share: Russ with Congressman Bill Foster and CED President & CEO John Greuling at an event in 2013. Our condolences to his family.
Will Co. CED Apr 29 2021 12:00 AM
Russ, I will never forget your laugh and the twinkle in your eyes. You will be so missed. Thank you for loving my sister well and always making us feel welcome when we were able to visit. Such an incredible life and I am thankful getting to share a small part of it. God speed! Love you to your beautiful family!
Carla Hegenbart Apr 29 2021 12:00 AM
Russ was a great guy, I didn't know him well, but spoke to him frequently at various events. Always a class guy.
JNJ Apr 28 2021 12:00 AM
Bryan, my sincere condolences to you and your family.
Sue Hausmann (AT&T - retired from rmvl co) Apr 27 2021 12:00 AM
So sorry for your loss. Memory Eternal!
Gayle Shimek Apr 27 2021 12:00 AM
Russ was a truly lovely man. I was happy to call him a fellow Rotarian, Chamber member, and friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
KATHLEEN ZYDEK Apr 27 2021 12:00 AM
A true southern gentlemen, was kind and considerate to all.
Enjoyed working on many civic projects with Russ.
Dean M. Sweetwood (retired from Nicor)
Dean M.Sweetwood Apr 27 2021 12:00 AM
It was a privilegeto have worked with Russ for several years prior to his retirement from the Bell System. My exposure to Russ came while working my position as Area Manager Construction. At the time, Russ had responsibilitiesforCommunity Relations within the South West District and interfaced with many major business accounts. Russ was extremely successfulin creating a strong bond between our company and the business community. His professional attributes, smooth communications skills, and deep understanding of our customer needs contributed greatly towards our successes. Russ was a true professional and real gentleman. He has touched the hearts of many throughout the years (including myself) and he will truly be missed. Russ will always be remembered for all the great accomplishments.
Respectfully, with our deepest sympathy
Tony and Tammy
Tony Rosa Apr 27 2021 12:00 AM