Russell L. Fender, age 83, of Kissimmee, FL, passed from this life to enter the next on April 25, 2021.
If you knew Russ you knew he loved God, his wife and family, fishing and Gator football.
Russ was born at home in rural Edison, Nebraska on October 23, 1937 to Elzie and Eunice Fender. He grew up on the family farm that was homesteaded by his great-grandparents. The farm has remained in the family for several generations. Each year, after the wheat was planted, his family wintered in Florida. He graduated from Ft. Myers High School in 1955. A year later he joined the Navy as a submariner aboard the USS Barracuda stationed in New London, CT. In 1958, Russ returned to Nebraska to get something he left behind….his beautiful sweetheart, Kay! After experiencing the brutal Connecticut winters he was most happy to be transferred to Key West, Florida. He discharged there after proudly serving his country for 4 years. He, Kay and Vicki then moved to Kissimmee in 1960 where he resided for 61 years until his death. He briefly worked at Martin Marietta and then was hired by the Kissimmee Police Department. While working full time and being the greatest father ever to now 3 kids, (Darla and Russell were welcome additions) he managed to complete his Bachelor’s Degree at Rollins College in Criminal Justice. At the Police Department rose in rank from street officer to lieutenant to captain. His family could not be more proud of his achievements. He instilled in his children a respect for the law, honesty, integrity, and a great work ethic. He taught them to “choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”
After retirement he and Kay would summer in Colorado and fish their days away. He lived the life!
Russ attended the Kissimmee Church of Christ and served the church faithfully in many capacities until his health no longer allowed it.
He was respected by his colleagues and all who knew him and was deeply loved by his family. Our greatest consolation is that we know where his new address is and it is a grand place!
Russ leaves to mourn his passing his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Kay Fender of Kissimmee, FL; daughters Vicki (Gary) Houseman of Wytheville, VA, Darla (Rocky) Dunkman of Greenwood, SC and son Russell L. Fender II of Kissimmee, FL; nine grandchildren, Megan Smith, Maryville, TN, Mindy Kumfer, Irvine, KY, Kaley Newgent, Ware Shoals, SC, Dana Malace, Copperas Cove, TX, Nathalie Laughlin, Abbeville, SC, Clay Dunkman, Ninety Six, SC, Conner Dunkman, Abbeville, SC and 17 glorious great-grandchildren. He has made acquaintance with two great-grandchildren he never knew until now and is most likely bouncing them on his knees.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 11:00 AM at the Church of Christ of Kissimmee 921 W Vine St Kissimmee, FL 34741 with Minister Jim Beltz presiding. Inurnment will be at a later date at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Beaver City, NE.
The Fender family is being cared for by: CONRAD & THOMPSON FUNERAL HOME, 511 Emmett Street, Kissimmee, Florida 34741; 407-847-3188.
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