Wilbert H. Rusch, Jr.
February 19, 1940 – July 29, 2023
Wilbert H. Rusch Jr., peacefully passed away on July 29, 2023, leaving behind a legacy of faith and compassion.
Wilbert was born on February 19, 1940, into a family deeply rooted in their Christian beliefs. His parents, Professor Wilbert Rusch Sr. and Margaret, devout servants of God, instilled in him the values of compassion, humility, and unwavering faith from an early age. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wilbert was born the second of five children, joined in Heaven by Rev. Frederick “Fritz”, survived by Jeanne, Brian, and Joanne.
After high school, Wilbert worked hard to become First Lieutenant in the ROTC. After years of service, he continued his military duty and joined the Navy. After a brief stint in the hospital due to life threatening pneumonia, God had other plans and called him to become a teacher. He pursued higher education at Concordia Teachers College, Seward, Nebraska, earning a bachelors’ degree prior to earning his Masters of Natural Science degree from the University of Oklahoma. After teaching in Chicago, Illinois, and Rocky River, Ohio, he found his vocation as a geology, astronomy, anatomy, and physiology teacher at Lutheran High School South. He spent a year teaching at the Concordia International School in Shanghai, China, and developed a high school science curriculum to be used for years to come. For 52 years, Wilbert dedicated himself to nurturing the hearts and minds of countless students, instilling not only academic excellence but also the importance of Christian virtues. Mr. Rusch’s infectious humor and idiomatic teaching methods continue to resonate in his students’ daily lives long after graduation.
Beyond the school walls, Wilbert's greatest source of joy and pride was his family. He married the love of his life, Judith Ann. In their 63 years together, they raised three daughters, Rebecca, Barbara, and Patricia. Wilbert is survived by his wife, 3 daughters, 3 Sons-in-law, 6 Grandchildren, 6 Great-Grandchildren, and 3 siblings.
Wilbert's dedication to his faith extended beyond his family and students. He was an active member of his church community, serving as a Sunday school teacher, usher, and leader in various church ministries. He also led many adult Bible studies. His bellowing bass voice will be remembered by many throughout the church pews.
His memorial service was held at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Saint Louis, Missouri, on August 2, 2023.