Cover photo for Russell "Russ" Irl Cavinder's Obituary
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Russell "Russ" Irl Cavinder

May 15, 1945 — January 17, 2024

Russell Irl Cavinder, of New Carlisle, IN, passed away on January 17, 2024 at the age of 78, after a long struggle with Alzheimer's.  Russell passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by the love of his family.

Russell was born on May 15, 1945 in Plainwell, MI, to the late Emery and Velma (Short) Cavinder.  Russell was the youngest of 5 children, three brothers DeWayne (Ruth) Cavinder, Donald (Alice) Cavinder, Chester (Cynthia) Cavinder and one sister, Lila Jean (John) McCoy, all who preceded him in death.

Surviving Russell is his wife of almost 60 years, Gail (Hartwick) Cavinder; they met as teenagers in the fall of 1962.  Together, they attended her Junior and Senior proms before getting married on July 11, 1964.

He is also survived by their three children, Lynn (Delmar) Chupp of LaGrange, IN, Cindy Campbell of La Porte, IN and Robby Cavinder of New Carlisle, IN; seven grandchildren, Chris (Kara) Chapman, Brandon (Brenda) Pointon, Stephanie Chapman (Shelby), Meghan (Gabriel) Thomas, Jacqueline (Chris) Kelley, Amanda Chupp and David (Diana) Chupp; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Russell joined the USAF and served 4 years at Bunker Hill (Grissom) Air Force Base in Peru, IN.  After his discharge, he worked at Joy Manufacturing for 23 years before they unexpectedly closed their doors and moved the business south.  He then went to work at Dye Plumbing and Heating for one year, until a horrible accident, causing him to lose range of motion and use of his left arm.

After recovering, in true Russell style and determination, he pursued a BA degree in business at Purdue University and studied to obtain his Real Estate license.  He worked for Coldwell Banker for three years before fully retiring.

Anyone who knew Russell knew that his family and huge circle of friends meant everything to him.  He loved to find ways to brighten your day and always seemed to have a keen sense of knowing when someone needed help, support or just a kind word to make them smile.  He would go out of his way for anyone whom he felt was struggling or in need.

Russell had an infectious sense of humor and brightened up any room he entered, bringing joy wherever he went.  No matter the circumstance, one would always leave with a smile and a fun memory of when you were with him.  It was not uncommon to have a kiss blown to you with him saying, "always remember, I love you".  Russell leaves a huge hole in the lives and hearts of many.

Russell loved Bluegrass music and he and his wife Gail became involved with the Rolling Prairie Community Center, holding several positions on the board.  He organized a group of musicians and engaged with others who loved to sing and perform monthly on Bluegrass night for several years, which only ended due to his decline in health.  Russell and Gail also traveled to different Bluegrass festivals and country music concerts, where they met various performers and made several friends along the way.  He loved helping Gail in the garden, going camping, tinkering on his many ideas and projects, and visiting garage sales and thrift stores.

Russell was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Porte, IN and served for a few years as a church board member along with volunteering in various positions at the St. John's thrift store, where he continued going out of his way to help others in need.

Above all, Russell loved life.  The stories of events shared with his family and friends and those adventurous moments that we recall are all treasured, and will go on to continue to bring smiles and laughter for all of us to share with others.

Russell has always had a love for pigs since he was a child and over the years has collected numerous pigs in various forms.  Like the old phrase "when pigs fly" that was on a t-shirt he often wore; until we meet again....May this pig lover soar with angels' wings.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 1 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in La Porte, IN.  Burial will follow at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, La Porte.

A time of visitation will be held from 4 - 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at Cutler Funeral  Home and Cremation Center and from noon until the start of the service on Tuesday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to St. John's Lutheran Church, 111 Kingsbury Ave., La Porte, IN 46350; Alzheimer's Association, 50 E. 91st St., Ste. 100, Indianapolis, IN 46209-4830; or Elara Caring Hospice, 2515 N. Bendix Dr. #103, South Bend, IN 46628.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 25, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Central time)

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A Service of Christian Burial

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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Burial with Full Military Honors

Thursday, January 25, 2024

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St. John's Lutheran Cemetery

La Porte, IN 46350

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