Russ was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1961 to René and Fran Vandekauter. Russ spent his youth in South Holland, Illinois, graduating from Thornwood High School in 1978. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign and later graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus in 1986. Russ has worked as a computer programmer for Computer Corporation of America, CGI and Johnson County Community College. Russ was also an IT consultant for General Foods and Sanofi Aventis. One of his greatest achievements was developing software for one of the first handheld devices which is now in the Smithsonian. Throughout his life, Russ enjoyed music, red wine, biking, swimming, and scuba diving. He loved playing bass in multiple rock bands (Organ Donor, Plural Noun and Abandon) in his college years and he’s always had a passion for space exploration and a deep love for animals, especially his dog and cats. Russ leaves behind his parents, his older sister (Sandy Van de Kauter) and brother-in-law (John Walter), a nephew (Miles Walter) and niece (Claire Walter) and his wife (Mary). Russ was one of a kind and will be missed by many. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions may be made to:
- The Planetary Society (www.planetary.org)
- Wayside Waifs (www.waysidewaifs.org)
- MPN Research Foundation (www.mpnresearchfoundation.org)
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