In Memory

Russell Hantzsch - Class Of 1950

Russell Hantzsch Notice

Russell Hantzsch

Russell Hantzsch became dead on March 24, 2020. In keeping with his disdain for social convention, this is how he preferred to share news of his passing. Born in Milwaukee, WI on May 23, 1932 to Kurt and Florena Hantzsch, Russ grew up near Washington Park on 41st Street. Upon graduation from Washington High School, he studied Mechanical Engineering at UW-Milwaukee before transferring to UW-Madison to complete his degree. In 1954 he took a job as a Test Engineer at Wisconsin Electric Power (now WE Energies), where he spent his career of nearly 40 years, retiring as Manager of Major Projects. It was at a company Christmas party that he met Anita King. They began dating, but Anita soon contracted tuberculosis and was confined to the Rocky Knoll sanitarium near Plymouth. Russ persisted in his courtship, making frequent trips to visit her, eventually proposing to Anita in the sanitarium. They were married on November 22, 1958, which happened to be the opening day of deer season; Russ, an avid hunter, didn't deer hunt for the next 40 years. They honeymooned in South Milwaukee, and soon after bought their home in Hale Park where Russ resided for 60 years. Russ and Anita have two sons, Christopher and Gilbert, who became Russ's duck hunting and fishing companions at their beloved family cabin on Lake Poygan. Throughout his life, Russ was unconventional and ahead of his time. He sported a goatee and smoked cigars before their rise in popularity; he was a Maker long before that became a thing. Russ taught himself welding, a skill he used to create a fantastical sculpture garden in his backyard. An engineer's engineer, he applied his learning and logic to every problem. Russ was a truth-teller, both at work and at home, even when the truth was difficult to hear. He and Anita loved their five grandchildren dearly, enjoying their Wednesdays with Maddie and Sam and visits to see Cayla, Alyssa, and Lana in Baraboo. He lived to see his grandchildren grow into admirable young adults and made a profound impact on each of them. Russ's children and grandchildren survive him. He was preceded in death by his wife Anita, sister Roberta (the late Elmer) Weiss, infant brothers Donald and Richard, and parents Kurt and Florena. In accordance with his vehement wishes, there will be no funeral service. The family will gather to celebrate Russ's life privately at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please raise a glass in his honor.


Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Mar. 26 to Mar. 29, 2020