Russell L. Stutsman, 83, of Bristol, IN, passed away Tuesday August 18,2020 at Goshen Hospital. He was born August 31, 1936 in Union, Michigan to Elton and Mary (Snyder) Stutsman. On November 22, 1958, Russ married Jeanne H.Pietenpol in Oostburg, WI. She survives along with children Cheryl Ann (Peter) Moord of Constantine, MI, Michael Jay (Lora) Stutsman of White Pigeon, MI and Lorie Ann (Roy) Erickson of Loveland, CO. , his grandchildren: Mandy (Joe) Reed, Angie (Shaun) Minger, Megan (Kyle) Rimer, Chase (Jessica) Niblock, MaRinda (Mac) Stamp, MaHaley Moord, Kati Stutsman, Staci (Joe) Kappes, Michael S. Stutsman, Ryan Kohn, Mikayla Kohn, Will (Jess) Erickson, Eric Erickson, and Anna (Erickson) Johnson. He is also survived by 14 great grandchildren and a sister, Betty (Orla) Miller of Middlebury, IN. He was preceded in death by his father (Elton Stutsman) and step-mother (Mary A. Stutsman) and his mother (Mary M. Eby) and step-father (Frank Eby).
After high school graduation and during his early career, Russell worked in the band instrument industry in many parts of Elkhart County. He worked at CG Conn, Vincent Bach, Gemeinhardt, Selmers, and Blessings . After working all day in Elkhart, Russ would head up to his boyhood home at Carter Lake where he began to grow Christmas trees to sell during the holiday season. Each of his children (and many of his grandchildren) can enlighten you with stories of planting, trimming, spraying, and harvesting Christmas trees - mostly during the hottest and coldest, snowiest months of the entire year. He would haul the trees to the Concord Mall area to sell to many holiday shoppers. Eventually, Russell gave up his day job and concentrated on the Christmas tree operation. He moved to his current home in Bristol and branched out to digging, selling and transplanting landscaping pine trees in the spring and welcoming Christmas tree shoppers to his farm during the Holiday season. Customers could always enjoy cutting their own Christmas tree, visiting with Russ and Jeanne, and drinking a cup of hot cocoa in the warming shed.
During the off season, Russ and Jeanne spent many weeks traveling and camping. They spent winters in South Padre Island, Texas, Pine Island, Florida, and Ruskin Florida. Russell loved the warm climate of Ruskin, Florida (quite possibly a side effect coming from years spent harvesting trees in December in Michigan) and was planning to travel there again this fall.
Beyond all else, Russ was a people person; he was friendly, outgoing and enjoyed talking with everyone he met. He followed his grandkids and great grandchildren as they competed in sports and band competitions and attended numerous rivalries in Elkhart, Edwardsburg, and Constantine. His competitive nature did not end with watching the younger generation. Russ and Jeanne were famous for playing any and all card games - Euchre, Hearts, Hand & Foot, and Pinochle just to name a few. They could almost always be found socializing with friends and family as they played dominoes or cards all afternoon and into the late night hours. As all who knew him could confirm – Russ Stutsman just loved to be with people.
Russell was also an active member of the Bristol United Methodist Church.
Visitation will be from 3 – 7 pm on Friday at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514 where the funeral service will be held at 10 am Saturday August 22, 2020 with visitation one hour before the service. Pastor Gary Lewis will be officiating. Interment will follow at Plum Grove Cemetery in Union, MI.
Memorials may be made to Bristol United Methodist Church, 201 South Division Street, Bristol, IN 46507 or Goshen Home Care & Hospice, 1147 Professional Drive, Goshen, IN 46526.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Russell Stutsman, please visit our floral store.
Bristol United Methodist Church
201 South Division Street, Bristol IN 46507
Goshen Home Care and Hospice
1147 Professional Drive, Goshen IN 46526