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Russell Birkos

1949 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Russell Birkos Obituary
Birkos, Russell
1949 - 2017
Russell J. Birkos, 68, passed away in Frankfort, Michigan on July 19, 2017. He was born June 17, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of John and Adeline (Zurawski) Birkos, who preceded him in death. After graduating from John F. Kennedy High School in Chicago, Russ attended Lawrence University, Appleton Wisconsin, where he met the love of his life and future wife, Barbara Taylor. Upon graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor's degree in English, he often told the story about his father jokingly telling him "that's great, son, now make sure you are first in line for a job at the English factory." Russ and Barb were married in 1972 and had just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. After college, he joined the U. S. Air Force, where he worked in Strategic Air Command (SAC) munitions and attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant, before being honorably discharged in 1974. After serving in the armed forces, Russ attended Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where he received his Master's degree and was awarded their prestigious Harrington Memorial Award for broadcasting. His initial career started in television and radio broadcasting in Kalamazoo, Michigan and progressed to television news director in Dayton, Ohio. Russ expanded his career into advertising and public relations, eventually settling in Columbus, Ohio. Russ will always be known for his outgoing personality, his story telling and his witty and infectious sense of humor, often striking up conversations with anyone and making friends with total strangers. The delivery and presentations of his stories were so good, no one ever suspected they were jokes until the punch line came. Even though you may have heard the same jokes before, he told them in a way that made you laugh once again. Russ was an avid Chicago Cubs and Northwestern fan. Although he lived in Columbus, Russ had season tickets to Northwestern football games and proudly flew the Northwestern flag at home amongst a sea of Buckeye flags. Russ was ecstatic when his lovable Cubbies finally won the World Series and the Wildcats made it to the NCAA basketball tournament. Russ was an avid reader, historian, and enjoyed Saturdays working the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. Russ passed away at his home in Michigan, one of his favorite places, where he would spend time on the lake with beloved family and friends. He leaves behind his wife, Barb (Taylor) Birkos of Columbus, Ohio; a daughter, Liz (Melvin Pahe); and grandson, Lewis Pahe, of Anchorage, Alaska; a son, Taylor, of Columbus, Ohio; five nieces; one nephew; two grand-nieces; and five grand-nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister Christine Birkos. Private family burial was held at Crystal Lake Township Cemetery - North in Michigan. A celebration of Russell's life will be held in Columbus at a later date this fall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Salvation Army. Russ will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Aug. 11, 2017
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