Frank Russenberger Profile Photo
1949 Frank 2024

Frank Russenberger

January 8, 1949 — April 11, 2024

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Charles Franklin "Butch" Russenberger was born January 8, 1949 in Little Rock, Arkansas and grew up in southwest Little Rock just down the road from the girl with whom he would share his entire life. He met Linda Dreher on the school bus when they were in elementary school, and they grew to be friends in the Fuller High School marching band. They married on August 29, 1970 and lived out their vows of love in sickness and health until death parted them with his passing April 11, 2024.

In their 53 years of marriage, they created a loving family. Frank is survived by his wife, Linda, and their children: Susan (Jerry & sons: Bowen, Heston, and Flint) Naylor of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Lara (Chuck & daughters, Shelby and Rose) Knebel of Highland, Illinois, and Paul (Shari & son, Wyatt) Russenberger of Bartlett, Tennessee. His sister, Jerry (Tommy) Lewis, resides in Little Rock. He was preceded in death by his mother, Georgia and his father Charles "Sonny" Russenberger. He leaves a legacy of love with six grandchildren and two cats. Frank was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, gardener, and carpenter. 

Frank graduated from Fuller High School in 1967 and then studied at Arkansas Tech and the University of Arkansas graduating in 1973 with a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on soils and foundations. This education served him well in his career and as he built countless gardens, ponds, nature trails, workshops, and screened-in porches across Arkansas. 

After graduation he served eight years in the U.S. Army (inactive Reserves) Corps of Engineers and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

Frank spent 34 years working at the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Dept. and retired in 2008 as the District 8 Engineer in Russellville. In his career the AHTD sent Frank to work in Osceola, Paragould, Little Rock, and Russellville. Frank was a career-long member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Frank followed in his parents' square dance footsteps and spent many years twirling and whirling Linda all across Arkansas. They regularly danced with the Twin City Stars in North Little Rock and Pairs & Squares in Russellville. The best dances and stories came from the Mount Nebo State Park when the square dancers hit the campground.

Like many men in their 40s, Frank bought a motorcycle. He and Linda hit the road with a motorcycle gang that rode with the motto "Live to Ride, Ride to Eat." Frank served as the President of Central Arkansas Road Riders for two years.

Frank was happiest in his garden clothes and hat working on one of the many garden projects he coordinated for the community. Frank and Linda signed up for Master Gardener classes in 2004 and that led to Frank's second career of being the local garden/pond/plant man. This couple reached Advanced Master Gardener status and are lifetime members of Arkansas Master Gardeners. Frank and Linda led many large projects for the Pope County Master Gardeners including a garden and pond at the Pope County Senior Center and native plant gardens at Lake Dardanelle State Park. They also brought new life to the flower beds at First United Methodist Church in Russellville. Frank regularly provided seeds and cuttings for the greenhouse at Russellville High School. He said his favorite community project was the Garden of Hope in Russellville. The Master Gardeners partnered with the Pope County Juvenile Court to develop a gardening program for youthful offenders. The Garden of Hope community garden offered the opportunity for young people to spend quality time working in the garden and learning about dirt, compost, veggies, and flowers from Frank. Though his own children were often less interested in shoveling compost in his garden, the Juvenile Court provided many willing students that learned to love the garden because of Frank. He served as President of the Pope County Master Gardeners for three years and was named the 2017 Pope County Master Gardener of the Year. After moving to Cherokee Village in 2019, Frank and Linda continued their involvement with the Sharp County Master Gardeners. Frank served as President for three years.

In his later years, Frank leaned into woodworking and sign making. He would often build garden benches and potting tables to be sold at the fundraisers for the Master Gardeners. When he wasn't feeding his plants or engraving funny wooden signs, Frank could be found cruising around on his pontoon boat on Lake Thunderbird or floating around the lake with his kids and grandkids.

Frank faced the challenges of colon cancer with humor, courage, and resilience. What the disease may have taken from him pales in comparison to the fullness of joy in which he lived his life.

A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. May 4, 2024 in Cherokee Village at Peace Lutheran Church. A celebration of life party will be after the service at Cooper's Pointe, 2 Chickasha Drive, Cherokee Village, AR 72529.

Arrangements are with Tri-County Funeral Home of Highland, Arkansas. Memorials are encouraged to any local community garden.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frank Russenberger, please visit our flower store.

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