Russell Irving Bayh, Jr. A Celebration of Life

Russell Bayh, American Hero and Friend

A very small funeral service for immediate family (limit is 10 people inside the church) to celebrate the life of Russell Bayh is scheduled for 9:00 AM Friday, May 15, 2020.

A graveside service will follow at the Hempstead Cemetery. The public is welcome to attend the graveside service. A minimum of 6 feet must be kept between family groups at the cemetery. If you have underlying health conditions or if you are in a high-risk category, it is strongly recommended that you not attend the service. Out of respect for those with health conditions, and in a stand for neighborly love, please wear a mask to protect others.

The funeral at St. Bartholomew will be streamed live on the St. Bartholomew Facebook page. If you don’t get it live, you can always watch it later. The graveside service will be streamed, as well.

To follow along with the funeral service, download the Order of Service and tune in to Facebook at 9:00 tomorrow.

Peace to you all. And prayers for the Bayh family in this difficult time.

We have included a copy of the obituary below.

Russell, 94, husband, father, military veteran, educator, faithful servant to God and country, member of the “greatest generation”, and dear friend to many, died peacefully with family members on May 10, 2020 in Chappell Hill, Texas.

He was born October 10, 1925 to parents Russell I. Bayh Sr. and Verlita Maie Broadway Bayh in Monroe, Louisiana.  After his parents divorced, he lived with his grandparents Henry Herman “Hank” and Emma Bayh in Monroe.  After high school graduation, he moved to El Campo, Texas to live with his mother and stepfather, Darwin Pliler, until being drafted into the

He was inducted into the Army March 23, 1944 at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, and trained at Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas for assignment to the 90th Anti-Aircraft Battalion as a Fire Controller, which involved gun aiming competency.  Serving as a PFC, he was reassigned to the 9th Infantry Division, 47th Infantry Regiment, Company E in the Rhineland, European
African Middle Eastern Theater.  His military qualification was Combat Infantryman with a sharpshooter rifle.  He left the United States January 31, 1945 and arrived in Liverpool England, and was sent by train to the east coast of England, then by boat to Le Havre France where he was transferred to the Ardennes Sector front lines February 8, 1945. One of his weapons was a tripod-mounted, air-cooled 30 caliber machine gun.  The men of the 9th Division were challenged by blizzards, trench foot, frost-bite and frequent bursts of German artillery, and losses were heavy.

On March 4, 1945, he was badly injured by German artillery fire in fierce fighting near the German city, Remagen.  Considering extensive shell-blast and shrapnel wounds received, it was an act of God that he did not die on the battlefield.  Five days after his injury, his regiment had the recognized distinction of being the first infantry troops to cross the Rhine River at
Remagen via the famous “last bridge standing”, the Ludendorff Bridge.  

After field injury treatment, on May 11, 1945 he was sent by boat to New York, then to McCloskey General Hospital, Temple, Texas, where he arrived May 24 for rehabilitation and fitment of an artificial prosthesis for his right leg, and “shell-shock” treatment.  

In March, 1946 he was discharged from the Temple Hospital, then honorably discharged from the Army March 15, 1946.  For his military service injuries, he received two Purple Heart medals, as well as a EAME Theatre medal with bronze Service Star, a America Theater medal, a Good Conduct medal, and a World War II Victory medal.  Qualified for the GI Bill, he went to Huntsville, Texas, to start college at Sam Houston State University.  Despite his war-related disabilities, he completed a BA degree in Industrial Arts in 1950 and a MA degree in Industrial Arts and Education in 1951.

While attending Sam Houston State, he met Geneva Marie Fowler who was also attending college in Huntsville, and she became his faithful, loving wife for sixty-six years as Russell and Geneva were married October 13, 1950.  

As a school teacher, he taught metal and woodworking shop classes at Santa Fe High School in Alta Loma, Texas and in the Spring Branch School District in Houston, Texas.  He also coached Junior High School football.  In 1963, Russell oversaw and participated in building the family’s dream home in Hempstead, Texas where they planned retirement and happily lived for
61 years.

With his artificial leg, the physical demands of standing and moving about during long classroom/shop sessions became a serious issue, and he began preparation for a less-arduous Industrial Cooperative Education teaching role at Spring Woods High School.  He continued his formal education via “summer special training” courses 1966-68 at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University to obtain the required job skills and qualify for
this new role.  August 1, 1970, he started the new Vocational Counselor role where he mentored and enabled students not planning college attendance upon graduation to prepare for careers in a broad range of job types and industries.  He served in this role until retirement in 1978.

In his retired life, Russell faithfully served as Chaplain in his Waller County VFW and American Legion Chapters, and Choir and Vestry service at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Hempstead.

Russell is survived by three children, Russell I. (Rusty) Bayh III and his wife JoCile, Darwin Bayh and his wife Lisa, and Rebecca Mikolajczak and her husband John.  He has four grandchildren: Amanda McKitrick, Reese Bayh, Mason Wellman and wife Lindsey, and Jared Mikolajczak.  He has one great-grandson, Russell Cole McKitrick and one great-granddaughter, Aria Marie Wellman.  Also surviving is his brother Billy Charles Bayh and several nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 9 AM Friday, May 15 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Hempstead, Texas with Father Frank Hawkins officiating.  In compliance with current Episcopal Diocese of Texas Rules, attendance is limited to immediate family.  The service will be live-
streamed via the St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church Facebook page.  The
graveside service with Military Honor Guard will be immediately following at the Hempstead Cemetery, and is open to the public with compliance to social distancing rules.  Visitation will be from 6-8 PM on Thursday, May 14 at McWilliams Funeral Home in Hempstead.

Russell was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4007 in Hempstead, Texas.

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