Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery
5668 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN
Russel Lee Wiener died peacefully on April 1, 2015 at the age of 94, just two weeks shy of his 95th birthday. Visitation will be on Tuesday, April 7, from 4-6 p.m. at Memorial Park Funeral Home. Services will be held Wednesday, April 8 at Lindenwood Christian Church at 2 p.m. Dr. Wiener was born to Lee Charles and Martha Bailey Wiener in Memphis, TN on April 13, 1920. He attended Rhodes College, was president of ODK, and graduated from there in 1942 with a degree in chemical engineering. He received a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Tennessee in 1945. He was a long-time member of Bellevue Baptist Church and Lindenwood Christian Church. Shortly after earning his D.D.S., in the early 1950s, Dr. Wiener joined the United States Naval Reserve where he became a dental officer. After spending time with the First Marine Air Wing in Japan and Korea, Dr. Wiener returned to Memphis. Dr. Wiener left dentistry to join his brother Don Wiener at Donruss Company. Donruss, founded by Don Wiener, was a candy manufacturing business in Memphis known for its penny gum Super Bubble Gum. Additionally, it was at Donruss Company where Russel Wiener is credited for inventing the strip candy suckers. Donruss later became part of the Southern division of General Mills. In 1956, he married concert violinist Joy Brown. Upon his retirement from the bubble gum business, Dr. Wiener then focused on the family-run farming business, Pacco, Inc located near Marion, Arkansas. It was also during this time that Dr. Wiener began to take a more aggressive role in helping the local arts, education, and community organizations. Russel Wiener and his wife Joy serve as life-long patrons of the arts even earning the 1992 Governor of Tennessee Patron of the Arts Award. Dr. Wiener was president of Memphis Opera Theater, Memphis Orchestral Society, chairman of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and Joy of Music International based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Moreover, Wiener was an integral part of his community— he was named Ouro of Memphi in the Carnival Association. He was a member of the Memphis Country Club and Memphis Hunt and Polo Club. He served as president of the English Speaking Union, the Rotary Club, and was chairman of the Investment Committee of the Assisi Foundation. He served on the advisory board of the University of Memphis, as a trustee for Christian Brothers University and Rhodes College. Dr. Wiener was chairman of the board of the Hutchison School where his family is responsible for the establishment of the Wiener Theater. He loved his Kappa Sigma fraternity brothers and was a member of the Order for 76 years. He became their international “Man of the Year” in 1991, and is well-known for his involvement with the Phi Chapter here in Memphis. Nationally, Wiener was head of the Kappa Sigma Endowment Fund, and was responsible for overseeing Kappa Sigma scholarships locally. Russel Wiener took great pleasure in seeking opportunities to help those in need. His contributions to charitable organizations have impacted the next generation. His giving to Smile Train, a charity that provides free cleft palate surgery for children, has helped to cover cleft palate surgeries for children around the world. He has quietly paid for the private education of promising young students in the greater Memphis area. Often, Dr. Wiener financially helped certain individuals jumpstart their career. His generosity never expected anything in return. Though his accomplishments range far and wide his greatest devotion was to his family. Russel Lee Wiener is preceded in death by his parents and his devoted brother, Donald Bailey Wiener. Dr. Wiener leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Joy Brown Wiener; his daughter Donna Wiener of Philadelphia, daughter Martha Wiener Horton and her husband Tom Horton of Memphis; two grandchildren, Tommy Horton and his wife Kylee of Orlando; and Bowen Horton of Memphis. His extended family includes two nephews, Lee Russel Wiener and wife Jean Anne, Bailey Lee Wiener and wife Marilyn of Memphis; as well as many great nieces and nephews, and wonderful caregivers. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Love Worth Finding, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, or the charity of your choice.
Published by The Commercial Appeal on Apr. 6, 2015.
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14 Entries
When I think about Dr Wiener I have smile on my face, he was an extraordinary gentleman with big heart, and the love of art. He lived a meaningful life, which we all strive for. We miss him..
Eniko Pivnick
March 31, 2019
Ms. Joy, Martha, Tom, and family,
We are sadden by the loss of such a remarkable man. Circumstances keep us
from being with you as you celebrate such an extraordinary life. We are with you in spirit as we remember Mr.Wiener's genuine kindness to all, enormous
generosity to so many, sparkling enthusiasm for life, and his deep capacity of love for family.
Joe & Christy Fields
April 8, 2015
Joy and family just wanted you to know that I thinking about you all and sending hugs and prayers. Much Love,
June Waddell West
April 8, 2015
The word "gentleman" was invented for people like Russell.
David Brown
April 8, 2015
To Mr. Wiener family and friends we send our prayers and love to you. James Jackson his masseur at U. club of Mphs.
April 7, 2015
Dear Ms Wiener:
We were so glad and honored to know your dear husband Russel!. When I think about him the following words come in my mind: gentleness, kindness, elegance, devotion and charity. I am visiting Hajnal in New York so I am not able to be at the the day of his celebration but my heart will be there to embrace you and the family. Love Eniko
Eniko Pivnick
April 6, 2015
Russell Weiner will be sorely missed in the Memphis Arts Community. Prayers with Joy and your family at this sad time.
Ruth Ann McClain
April 6, 2015
My love and best wishes for all God's blessings go out to you and all the family. I cherish the many wonderful special memories I have had with Russel and all of his blessed family over our many years together working on behalf of our beloved fraternity and each other. we are all so blessed for having known Russel and for his many contributions to us and mankind. AEKDB, Cole
Cole Jeffries
April 6, 2015
hello joy, i am thinking of you tonight as i read the news of russ. you had been so very kind to me when i was young and growing in memphis. thank you both for your grace and wisdom. blessings to you, mickey babcock
mickey babcock
April 6, 2015
I worked at the Donruss Company in the late 60s as I completed my undergraduate degree. I remember Mr. Russell as a very warm and caring person. My father was also a dentist, and we would sometimes (jokingly) debate the merits of having jars of gumballs on everyone's desk. My condolences to the Wiener family.
Rebecca Giannini
April 6, 2015
Joy and Martha, know that our love and prayers are with you at this time. Although we cannot be with you physically, we are there in spirit. At a time like this, it is so wonderful to have many special memories of you and Russel. We know that God's hand is on you all. May God continue to bless you and your family richly. Love Wiebe and Sandra.
Sandra Huisman
April 6, 2015
My memory back 1968, Russell was very kind and very easy person to talk to. He always interesting individual person and care other people. He have been my friend for many years. 1989 I moved to Hawaii, I held last party in my house in East Memphis. He wish me for my new venture and he broke down cry on my shoulder. I still remembered deep inside my heart, he was wonderful person and kind individual I ever met in my life. He was my mental and my life. When I heard news I deeply silence and many full memory surface in my eye lid. Now he's right place and he watching us for guiding. Thank you Russell. Farewell. Micheal Nishitani
Micheal Nishitani
April 6, 2015
I have fond memories of Russell and his great sense of humor. What a great life he lived and one I'm sure he is being rewarded for in heaven. Love and prayers with you Joy and Martha as you adjust to the void of Russell not being with you. May you feel God's ever present love & comfort during this time. Kathy Cobb
Kathy Cobb
April 6, 2015
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Staff of Memorial Park Funeral Home & Cemetery
April 6, 2015
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