Russell Vopelak was born on April 15, 1943, in Cleveland, Ohio and passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, May 21. Russell at 5 years old moved to Titusville, FL with his family. He graduated from Titusville High School in 1961 and moved to Jacksonville FL attending a Technical College studying computer programming.
Russell was drafted in June 1966 by the U.S. Army and spent two years in Germany serving his Country and was honorably discharged in January 1968 at the rank of Sargent. Upon returning to the States, his life adventures began.
He moved to Cocoa Beach, FL and shared an apartment with a good friend and they enjoyed their time on the beach. He met his future wife of 54 years, Paula Wittfeld.They were married July 3, 1969.
His first job after his Army service was as a launch pad fireman at Cape Canaveral for Pan American Logistics. In November 1969, he and Paula moved to Acworth, GA where he was starting work with Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI) on the building of the Carters Lake Dam doing the non-destruct testing. He worked with CBI at many locations in the United States in various positions building nuclear power plants, refinery storage and on the Alaskan Pipeline at Valdez. He left CBI in 1976.
His following years were working domestically and internationally in the nuclear industry and a Naval contract. He traveled to Japan, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada working in quality control, engineering and documentation.
Russell and Paula lived 30 plus years in Savannah, GA, building a home on the southside of Savannah and finally settling at The Landings on Skidaway Island where they had a custom-built home constructed. While living in Savannah, Russell purchased a 108-acre farm in Vidalia, GA which was a residence while he was working at Plant Hatch Nuclear Power Plant in Baxley, GA. They enjoyed having large gardens, multiple BBQs and parties with family and friends from Savannah and other surrounding areas. Paula’s fondest memory of the farm days was Russell on his John Deere tractor in the garden or grooming the lawns adjacent to their house. They never caught a fish from their fully stocked 10-acre lake on the farm. But their neighbors enjoyed fishing.
They retired to Cumming, GA living there for the past 20 years
They vacationed around the world, visiting Australia and New Zealand, multiple visits in Europe, South Africa and several river cruises in Europe. Their last vacation was a river cruise in April 2022 from Budapest, Hungary and ending in Bucharest, Romania.
Russell was a member of the Masonic Indian River Lodge and a Shriner member of Bahia Temple for many years. His passion was his cars; Corvettes, trucks and El Caminos, multiple Cadillacs and finally his Allante’s and XLRs. He was a member of the National Cadillac LaSalle organization and Peach State Chapter, the Cadillac Allante’ XLR Club, the Allante’ Club of America, the Allante’ Atlanta XLR Club, and regularly attended the Allante’ XLR Invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and Paula often visited the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, IN, the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI and other national car meets on the East Coast. His fondest memory was traveling with many Allante’ owners to Pininfarina in Turin Italy and meeting the designer of the Cadillac Allante’.
He is survived by his wife, Paula, son Russell, and daughter-in-law Tracy, and many cousins and countless friends and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his brother, Roger Vopelak, Mother Georgiana Vopelak and Father, Louis Vopelak.
Visitation will be on Friday, June 23rd, 2023, from 10:00am-11:00am at McDonald and Son Funeral Home.
A celebration of life service will be held in the chapel of McDonald and Son Funeral Home at 11:00am on Friday, June 23rd, 2023 at 11:00am.
In lieu of flowers please donate in Russell's name to St.Jude Children's Hospital or The Shriners Hospital.