After a full and rewarding life, Russell David von Beren Jr. passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family on March 18, 2021. He was 92.
He was a supportive, generous father to Cindy von Beren (Fred Frassinelli) and Russell D. “Fritz” von Beren III (Beth); and to granddaughters Izabella and Gabriella von Beren. Other survivors include his beloved sister, Gloria Farrell, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews—each with wonderful stories about “Uncle Russie.” Russell was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Janice Shepherd von Beren; his parents, Gertrude Nicklas von Beren and Russell D. von Beren Sr.; and his sister Jane Brennan.
Russell was born on August 16, 1928, in New Haven. He grew up in the Westville neighborhood, married Janice in 1952, and moved to Bethany where they lived for 66 years, devoting themselves to the community. Russell was honored by the Town of Bethany in 2007 for 50 years of dedicated service, including the Zoning Board of Appeals; Board of Education (12 years, 6 as Chair); and Board of Finance (26 years, 23 as Chair). He also tirelessly volunteered through the Bethany Lions Club (50+ years) and served on the Republican Town Committee (40+ years, 15 as Chair).
A mechanical engineer, Russell had a natural curiosity, was a life-long learner and enjoyed understanding how things worked. He embraced projects or items needing fixing, and was a skilled craftsman and superb woodworker. He designed and personally built his Bethany home, and in the latter years of his life, meticulously carved and painted an amazing array of birds. Nature, weather, space, fishing, politics and history were other keen interests. Russell spent his entire professional career at the Torrington Company (later Ingersoll-Rand and now a division of the Timken Company); at the time of his retirement, he was quality control manager for the Americas.
Russell was a “people person,” enjoyed interacting with and learning about people from all walks of life, and had an extensive circle of friends. In particular, he had long, sustained and cherished friendships with childhood pals from Westville, Twin Coves (Madison) families, his bocce/golf/coffee groups, and many Bethany residents past and present, including the “Bethany circle” with whom he and Janice socialized. More recently when limited by health and mobility, he kept up by phone, always interested in “what’s new” and how people were doing. Russell will always be fondly remembered for his generosity of time, talent and wise counsel; practicality; wit and practical jokes; and lovingly giving people a hard time.
The family would like to thank the attentive, caring nurses and aides at Elim Park Assisted Living in Cheshire, where Russell and Janice moved in 2018. The staff did an exceptional job keeping Russell safe and well, particularly during the pandemic.
Services will be held when it is safer to gather. Should friends desire and in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department/Ambulance Corps, 765 Amity Road, Bethany, CT 06524.