Ben F. Rusy
What do you remember about Ben? Share your stories and photos here, and invite others to come share their memories.
Dr. Ben Franklin Rusy died on December 27, 2021. He was born July 12, 1927 to Professor Ben Franklin and Agnes Catherine (Wolfert) Rusy in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Ben graduated from Madison West High School in 1945, served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and earned a B.S. in electrical engineering (1952) and an M.D. (1956) from the University of Wisconsin. After graduating from medical school, Ben moved to Philadelphia, where he completed an internship and residency in anesthesiology at Temple University Medical School. He married Anita L. Byrnes in Media, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1957. While at Temple, he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship, earned an M.S. in pharmacology, and became Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of Anesthesia Research. He also served as Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Drexel Institute of Technology. In 1976, Ben and Anita, and their four daughters, moved to Madison, where he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Department of Anesthesiology. He became Director of Anesthesia Research and was active in research, teaching and clinical practice. His research exploring the effects of various anesthetics on heart function was supported by continuous NIH grants for many years. Ben published dozens of articles in prominent medical journals. In 1988, Ben became Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. In announcing Ben's appointment, Dean Arnold Brown of the Medical School noted that "Dr. Rusy is an internationally recognized anesthesiologist who has contributed significantly to progress in his specialty and an educator who regards teaching as one of his primary responsibilities and privileges."
Ben and Anita traveled extensively, often with family. The family lived in London, England during 1970-71, while Ben did research at University College London. Ben and Anita also spent two summers in Leuven, Belgium in the 1990's when Ben served as a visiting professor at the University of Leuven. In retirement, Ben focused on family. He and Anita enjoyed their summers on North Bay in Door County, where they lived in a house they built on land purchased by Ben's grandfather in 1927. He loved the woods and waters of Door County and enjoyed sailing and projects in his workshop. Ben and Anita's winters were spent traveling and in their condominium overlooking the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton.
A strong and quiet man, Ben was extremely kind and gentle. He was a loving and attentive husband, a patient and supportive father, a beloved grandfather, and a fond great-grandfather. Ben loved classical music from his college days when he worked part-time as a control room engineer at WHA radio. He read widely, but favored mystery novels. He was an accomplished handyman, whose skills included plumbing, electrical and carpentry.
Ben is survived by his wife, Anita; his four daughters, Dr. Deborah Rusy (Mark Schessler), Dr. Lynn Rusy (David Brabson), Kimberly (Blaine) Renfert, and Kara Lee Rusy; his eight grandchildren, Ben (Maggie), Trevor (Renee) and Connor Schessler, Kelli Brabson, Austin and Logan Renfert, and Erin (fianc? Kris Schimmel) and Kyle Harkin; his four great-grandchildren, Oliver, Elowyn and Estella Schessler and Jonah Schessler; and his sister, Agnes Rusy (close friend Ann Line). He was preceded in death by his brother, James Rusy, and his sister, Mary Schultze.
At Ben's request, there will be no funeral or flowers. His family is planning to honor him with a private family gathering in Door County in summer, 2022. Those wishing to honor Ben may make a contribution to support Parkinson's Disease research to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
(608) 238-3434 Madison