Russ Gregory was born on January 8. 1942 in Wooster, Ohio, the son of Harry and Annie Gregory (both deceased). At age 81, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, he passed away suddenly due to complications following open-heart surgery.
After graduating from Dalton High School in 1961 he attended Bluffton College (now University), majoring in Music Education and Piano. He graduated in 1964 and began teaching while earning a Master’s Degree in Music History from Ohio State University in 1972.
During his teaching career he taught music in all grades; kindergarten through high school, in Wellington, OH, Bluffton, OH, and Denver, CO.His high school choirs were always exemplary, earning high honors at contests and performances.Russ also directed many youth and adult church choirs in both Bluffton and Denver.
On December 24, 1965, Russ married Nancy Kurtz and they resided in Bluffton, OH where their two children were born: Karyn in 1969 and Christopher in 1970. In 1976 the family moved to Denver to spend two years in Mennonite Voluntary Service where Russ remodeled homes in west Denver for Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. while also directing the choir at First Mennonite Church. After Voluntary Service he continued to work at BRI for three years before returning to music teaching at the elementary level for Denver Public Schools. In 2002, for his excellence in the classroom and inspiring the love of music to hundreds of students, he received the Distinguished Teacher Award. He retired from teaching in 2003.
During retirement he enjoyed traveling with Nancy on many trips: Vanuatu, New Zealand, Peru, Croatia, Great Britain, and several countries in Europe. Their travels also included visiting all 50 US States.He ushered at the Colorado Symphony for eleven years, was active with his bowling league, sang with his church choir, and volunteered on projects at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp in Divide, CO.
His grandsons, Coen (b. 2004) and Lewis (b. 2007) were a joy to him. He spent much time with them in fun, educational, and creative projects and enjoyed attending their sporting and music events.
In his free time, he enjoyed spending time with Nancy, as well as walking, hiking, road-trips, yard work, playing piano, puzzling, reading, and he was handy at fixing most anything. His other interests included travel planning, real estate, and meticulous accounting.
He was a man of true integrity, kindness, and unconditional love and support of his family.
As you wish, donations can be made in Russ’s name to Bluffton University, 1 University Drive, Bluffton, Oh 45817 (givecampus.com) or Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, (rmmc.org)
A celebration of Russ’s life is being planned for a later date.