Grundy, Russell "Buck"
Russell, "Buck" Grundy, 84, Wausau, died Friday, December 5, 2014 at Mountview Care Center,
Lakeview Heights Unit, in Wausau.
Buck was born on September 24, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois to Russell and Nellie (Grace) Grundy. He attended St. Philip's High School and was Valedictorian of his graduating class of 1947. He earned a football scholarship to attend St. Ambrose College in Davenport, IA. He continued his education at Lewis College in Lockport, IL, where his 1951 football team won the Thanksgiving Day Corn Bowl in Bloomington, IL. He was coached by Scooter McLean, a former half-back for the Chicago Bears, who later became the coach of the Green Bay Packers. In 1958, McLean invited Buck to try out for the Packers. Due to his growing family, he declined the offer, but was stunned and honored by the invitation. In 1982, he was inducted into the Lewis Hall of Fame, for football.
While attending Lewis, he met the love of his life, Elaine Crespi, a student at St. Joseph's School of Nursing in Joliet, IL. After graduating from college, Buck became self-employed as a soft-drink distributor for 7-UP. He and Elaine married on October 30, 1954 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Joliet, where they settled, and 6 of their 7 children were born.
In 1959, he embraced his true calling. With the guidance of his former teacher and coach, Gordie Gillespie, he was provided the opportunity to teach social studies, business, physical education and health, and to be an assistant football coach at Joliet Catholic High School. It was through this experience at Joliet Catholic that he developed the philosophy that would shape his sense of discipline and drive, leading him to inspire and motivate generations of young students and athletes.
Buck spent his childhood summers at his family's cottage on Mid Lake in Minocqua, WI, near his Grandma Grundy's resort, Camp Idylwild. He was active as a lifeguard during his teen years at Torpy Park. This connection to the north woods inspired him to move his family to a smaller, family-oriented community. In 1968, he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Wausau Newman High School. In the 22 years he spent at Newman, he wore several hats in the athletic department. In addition to serving as the head football coach, he founded the baseball and wrestling programs and coached both sports for several years. As Athletic Director, he upgraded the girl's basketball program, and helped establish the girl's volleyball and tennis programs. Two highlights of his coaching career at Newman were his first winning football team in 1970, and the 1980 State Championship baseball team. His son Kevin played in that championship game, and his son Russ was an assistant coach, which was a great source of pride for him. He also was proud of all of his students at Newman, and their many accomplishments after graduation.
His great love of the north woods inspired him to build a log cabin at Hultman Lake, WI. He wanted his family to experience the same opportunities that he had as a child in Minocqua, to spend time with family and friends and explore the beauty of nature. This was an important part of Buck and Elaine's legacy for their family.
He retired from Newman in 1990 but remained active and inquisitive. He continued coaching football at the college and high school levels, including a few seasons coaching with his son, Kevin. As an innovator, he developed an offensive lineman's glove called the Pitt-Mitt, designed to prevent holding. He loved fishing, picking berries, playing cards (sandbagger extraordinaire), supporting the endeavors of his children and grandchildren, and traveling. An avid writer, he published his memoirs "My Days in the Catholic League" and "Elena's Journey: The Story of an Italian Girl", as well as three additional non-fiction books.
Buck and Elaine worked hard their entire lives, raised 7 children on a shoestring budget, and never did they feel that they "went without". They instilled in their children a great sense of love, compassion, a solid work ethic, and always told them to "let their conscience be their guide".
The greatest of their lessons was to love each other unconditionally, and that money doesn't buy class. Buck, a proud Irish man, had a sharp wit and always greeted you with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.
He is survived by his children, Meg (Adam) Bradley, Minneapolis, MN, Kathleen (Gary) Schneck, Wausau, WI, Susan (Paul) Beasom, Park City, UT, Russ (Jane) Grundy, Hartford, WI, Kevin (Lori) Grundy), Wausau, WI, and Jennifer Grundy (Gil Petrovic), Milwaukee, WI; grandchildren, Joe, Grace and Theresa Lindblad, Meghan & Michael Schneck, Maria (James) Betts, Catherine and David Grundy, Gregorio, Patrick and Marisa Grundy; a brother, Jim (Mary) Grundy, sister-in-law, Rosie Bell (Joliet, IL); many nieces and nephews; and dear family friend, Dan Porter (Ken Rafowitz).
He is preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; son, David; sister, Patricia Robertson; brother-in-law, Don Robertson; nephew, John Robertson; brother-in-law, Nasi Crespi, brother-in-law, Jackie Crespi; sister-in-law, Josephine Crespi, sister-in-law, Ida Crespi; and brother-in-law, Howard Bell.
Visitation will be on Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 9:00 -11:00 am at St. Michael's Catholic Church, 611 Stark St., Wausau. Mass will follow at 11:00 am.
Brainard Funeral Home, Wausau is assisting the family with arrangements.
Condolences may be given at www.brainardfuneral.com
The family would like to thank special friends John Birkholz and Mark Gassner for their invaluable support, friend JoAnn McCurdie and the staff of the Lakeview Heights Unit of Mountview Care Center for their excellent and kind care-giving.
Buck will be deeply missed.
Published by Wausau Daily Herald from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12, 2014.