Cover photo for Russell Whisler Jr.'s Obituary

Russell Whisler Jr.

June 9, 1928 — January 26, 2023


Russell Whisler, Jr of Elkhart, IN finished his life’s journey on January 26, 2023, when the Lord called him to his heavenly home.Russell was born in Elkhart, IN on June 9, 1928 to Russell and Dora (Smith) Whisler. He married Marilyn Surls in Elkhart, IN on January 29, 1949 at Castle United Brethren Church. They were married for almost 73 years.

Russell is survived by his brother, Clifford Whisler of Elkhart IN, and his 5 children; Alan (Debbie) Whisler of Richmond, VA, Marcia (Stan) Roberts of Northbrook, IL, Cynthia (Rick) Gensur of Cleveland, OH, Yvonne (Kelly) Seabold of Toledo, OH, and Sandra (Keith) Zielinski of South Bend, IN. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, and 1 on the way.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn, his parents, and his sister Beatrice Hoffman, and brother Leon Whisler.

Russell graduated from Elkhart High School in 1947. He held various positions at Whisler Packing Company for twenty years where he particularly enjoyed running the sausage kitchen and made some of the best hot dogs and sausages. Over the years he stayed in the meat business running a company Hoosier Embers specializing in smoking hams and other meats and being the friendly face behind a few local meat counters. Russ enjoyed wood working and home improvement and put those skills to work as a building superintendent and lastly as part of the custodian team with his wife, Marilyn at Simpson United Methodist Church and Sugar Grove Church.

Russell loved the Lord Jesus and shared his faith with everyone he met. He was a loving caregiver to his wife in her last years. He sang in the church choir and enjoyed singing duets with Marilyn. Russell, along with Marilyn, encouraged his children to pursue musical and educational endeavors.  Russell served many years with the Elkhart County Right to Life and was active in local politics and was invited to participate in the groundbreaking for the overpass at Main St. and Indiana Avenue. Russell never knew a stranger, and was quick to make friends. He would lend a helping hand to anyone in need.

The family would like to thank the staff at Traditions Hospice and East Lake Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center for their excellent care at the end of Russell’s life.

Visitation for Russell will be from 12 pm to 1 pm Saturday May 6, 2023 at Sugar Grove Church, 58512 Old County Road 17, Goshen, IN 46528 where funeral services will be at 1pm. Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd. Elkhart, IN 46514 is assisting the Whisler family. Online condolences may be made to the family at

To send flowers to the family in memory of Russell Whisler Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, May 6, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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