Russell “Russ” Walter Symes, Green Valley, Arizona, died of Alzheimer’s Disease Aug. 1, 2019. He was 85.
Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1934, to Mr. and Mrs. Harris (Bernice) Symes, and grandson of Russell William Symes, he attended Detroit Public Schools, and graduated from Wayne State University with a B.S. in Education and an M.S. in Counseling and Guidance, later achieving an Ed.S degree via the University of Wisconsin - Stout.
Professionally, Mr. Symes taught in the Detroit Public School System and later in the Madison (Wisconsin) Public School System (Cherokee Middle School) and Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College) for most of his career. He retired from teaching in 1991 and became co-owner of The Sailboat House LLC, a sailboat sales and repair shop located near Madison’s Lake Mendota.
He married Helen Fauerbach, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Louis Fauerbach, in Madison in 1994. He and Helen retired to Green Valley, Arizona in 1998, where he was an active community volunteer, known for his skills in gardening and teaching, exercising his lifelong interest in supporting public schools and their after-school programs. He was especially interested in work that supported middle school-aged children. He and Helen taught Sunday School in Madison and Green Valley for 25 years.
In retirement, he was very involved with his community, including serving in several capacities for the Green Valley Community Coordinating Council (GVCCC), Director and President of The Greens HOA, Director, President and Executive Secretary of the Santa Rita Springs Master HOA, as well as an active member of the GVCCC Camera Club, Computer Club, Woodshop and Green Valley Gardeners. He was an active member of the St. Francis-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church.
He is survived by his wife and three stepchildren, eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, as well as several beloved Symes cousins who were as close to him as siblings.
At his request, his body was donated to education and research. Celebration of Life services will be held on Sept. 1, 2019 at St. Francis-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, 600 S. La Canada Drive, Green Valley, AZ at 2 PM. In lieu of flowers family and friends are asked to make a contribution to their local public schools.