Gerald Rusch, age 83, of Wheaton, Minnesota passed away Monday, May 25, 2015 at the Traverse Care Center in Wheaton. Funeral Services will be Monday, June 1, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton with Rev. Michael Breach officiating. Organist will be Theresa Thiel. Interment will be in St. John Lutheran Cemetery, rural Wheaton. Pallbearers will be Devin Rusch, Gary Behrens, Tim Siegel, Neil Siegel, Robin Siegel, Lance Siegel, Mike Fahleen and Joel Siegel. Military Honors will be provided by the Merton Dale American Legion Post #80. Visitation will be held Monday morning one hour prior to service time at the church. Gerald was born at home, in Clifton Township on September 25, 1931 to Erhardt and Bertha (Deschner) Rusch. He was christened Gerald Bernard Rusch on October 18, 1931 at St. John Lutheran Church. When he was six years old, the Rusch family moved to the farm South of Wheaton where he grew up playing and doing chores with his brothers and sister. He attended country school through the eighth grade, after which he joined his father in operating the farm. Gerald confirmed his faith on June 3, 1945 at St. John Lutheran Church, where he remained a life long member. Gerald joined the U.S. Navy at the age of nineteen, serving four years during the Korean War. He achieved the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class AD2. He completed his basic seaman training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. He was ordered to Jacksonville, Florida where he attended aviation preparatory training and was then ordered onto Memphis, Tennessee to complete aviation machinist mate and flight engineer training. He served in Patrol Squadron 40, a seaplane outfit, as a flight crew member and lead machinist. During his time of service he traveled to many destinations including Hawaii, California, the Philippine Islands, Vietnam, Japan and Guam. When not taking care of the airplane, or out on reconnaissance patrol taking pictures of enemy ship movement, he enjoyed playing cards and golf, watching movies, attending USO shows and sightseeing. Gerald always said he never regretted serving our nation, to him it was an honor. Gerald returned to Wheaton in September 1955, working at Texaco and continuing to farm. He was united in marriage to Betty June Siegel on September 16, 1956. Gerald and Betty welcomed three daughters into their family, Cheryl , Paula, and Angela. They raised their family on a farm Northwest of Wheaton. Gerald retired in 1993, and he and Betty moved into town in the fall of 1998. After having raised three girls, it was only fair that God would bless Gerald with sons-in-law Steve and EJ, and grandsons, Brett, Christian, Elvin and Daniel. Over the years Gerald spent many hours in a boat, on a tree stand, and walking the corn fields with family and friends. Whether he brought home a deer, some birds, a string of fish, or just a "one that got away" tale, he always considered these pursuits in the great outdoors time well spent. Through the years he was an active supporter of the Traverse County Sportsman Club. Gerald also enjoyed gatherings with family and friends, humored by the antics of giggling girls, mischievous boys and good natured banter between the grown-ups. During the winter, Gerald could many times be found enjoying a game of cards or dice with friends downtown. To the end he enjoyed gardening, kicking back in his recliner with a glass of Concord grape wine or a cold Pepsi, and listening to his favorite George Strait song, Sea Shores of Old Mexico. Gerald is survived by his wife Betty; daughter Cheryl Rusch, Perley, MN; daughter Paula (Steve) Danielson and sons Brett and Christian, Kindred, ND; daughter Angie (EJ) Lien, and sons Elvin and Daniel, Fargo, ND; sister Pearl (LeRoy) Behrens, Wheaton; brother Cecil Rusch, Wheaton; and sister-in-law Delores Thompson of Wheaton. He was preceded in death by his parents Erhardt & Bertha Rusch; brothers Leonard (Gladys), Eldon, Daniel, and Orville.
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