Cover photo for Russ Ether's Obituary
1951 Russ 2024

Russ Ether

December 22, 1951 — May 4, 2024


Russell N. Ether, age 72 years of Niles, Michigan; father, grandfather, brother, aerospace engineer, lifelong learner, and follower of Jesus Christ died peacefully Saturday afternoon, May 4, 2024 with his family gathered at his bedside following a brief illness, just six months after his wife, Andi passed in the same home following an extended illness.  His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care of the hospice staff.

He was born on December 22, 1951 in Hackensack, New Jersey to Theodore L. and Lillian C. (Fisher) Ether, and moved with his family as a teenager to South Bend, Indiana where he was graduated from the former South Bend Andrew Jackson High School (now Jackson Intermediate Center).  He continued his education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, earning a Bachelors Degree in Physics, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.  He continued his education for the rest of his life, stating that “life is school”.  He was employed for many years in research and development at the former Bendix Aerospace (now Honeywell Aerospace).  His efforts included advances in unmanned aviation, and he (and his employer) were awarded several patents for innovative designs.

Russ liked to remember that, while in that research facility at Bendix, he approached the Human Resources office of Miss Andrea Staples with a workplace concern, and he found a listening ear and a like-mind (but, really, they met through a single’s ad in Penny Saver).   They agreed in a few other areas, and on June 13, 1987 at Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles he married Andrea Lea Staples, with whom he celebrated last June the thirty-sixth anniversary of their wedding.

Russ was a member of the Community Evangelical Free Church – CEFC – in Niles; and in his studies of physics, sciences, and nature he found evidence of the Creator in Whom he believed.  He was passionately curious, leading him to study and read all of his life, especially the history of the United States, and more science, including the life of Albert Einstein.  He was also passionate to share knowledge through tutoring and mentoring, as well as sharing the skills he had learned to help others with automobile mechanics and computer technology.  All of this was accompanied by a background of music, his favorite being classic rock.

In 2001, he and Andi bought their first house, which came with some acres, and Russ enjoyed learning about each of the tree species around their house, sometimes greeting visitors with “lets go for a walk”.  He also enjoyed taking his family to the beach – often Warren Dunes – and enjoyed hiking and kayaking.  He was a great fan of the Boilermakers of Purdue University, and also enjoyed the University of Notre Dame Football team, best enjoyed in the company of friends at a watch party for televised games.

His family was his greatest interest, supporting Andi’s homeschooling efforts, providing transportation to homeschool co-operative classes and events, and enjoying each of the successes of his children.

He was sadly preceded in death by Andi on October 30, 2023; and by his parents, Theodore and Lillian Ether.

Surviving family includes his children, Emily (& Chad) Waddington of Dayton, Ohio, April Ether of Mishawaka, and Jonathan Ether of Mishawaka; grandson, Liam Waddington; and Russ’ brothers, Eric (& Jan) Ether of University Place, Washington, and Tom (& Sue) Ether of Vero Beach, Florida, and niece Jessi and nephew Joey; and by a close circle of very special friends.

The Memorial Service for Russ Ether will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at the Community Evangelical Free Church, 120 East Bertrand Road, south of Niles, with Pastor Matt Hickok of the church officiating.  Russ’ family gathered privately on Wednesday for interment at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

Russ clearly loved and appreciated life deeply, always desiring to learn more – asking in the last weeks of his life for books to be read to him – equaled only by his desire to share that passion with others.  “Others” was an even greater passion, loving those around him, his children and grandson . . . and Andi; always mindful of the Author and Creator of life and love.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Russ Ether, please visit our flower store.


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