Robert Jay Rusnak, Sr.

September 15, 1936 - November 21, 2010
Robert Jay Rusnak, Sr.


Robert Jay Rusnak Sr. passed away November 21st, 2010, at home surrounded by his wife and children, after a long negotiation with leukemia.

He is deeply missed by his greatly loved wife and friend of 46 years, Martha Rusnak; his son, Jay Rusnak (Kelly Taylor); his daughter, Jennifer Keane (Kevin); and his grandsons, Arron and Jesse Keane. He is also survived by two brothers, Earl Rusnak and Kenneth Rusnak, as well as many dear cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Robert (Bob) was born September 15th, 1936, in Chicago, IL to Earl and Helen Rusnak. Bob was a graduate of Evanston Township High School in 1954, Yale University in 1958, and received his Ph.D. in American History from the University of California in 1973. He was a professor of history at Dominican University in River Forest, IL, where he chaired the History Department for many years. Bob and Martha retired to Wilmington, NC in 2000 where he remained active in the community serving as Vice-President of the Board of the Big Dawg Theater Company, as well as on the Homeowners’ Association of Eastwood Village. Bob enjoyed golf, the Cubs, fine food and good conversation, the beach, travel, and spending time with family and friends both here in Wilmington and various other locales.

Bob and Martha shared a very special marriage of much joy and love. He was a loving and active father who took pride in teaching and nurturing his children as well as extending his interest, concern, and compassion to a wide assortment of other friends and relatives. Bob also demonstrated the uncommon quality of genuine friendliness and openness to all he encountered. We will celebrate his life and miss him dearly.

A celebration of Bob’s life is planned for a time to be announced at a later date.

It was his wish that any expression of sympathy be in the form of a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Please share memories and condolences by clicking on the “Sign Guest Book” tab above.

Wilmington Burial and Cremation Service, 1535 S 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099


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  • November 26, 2010
    Eleanor and Ronald Rusnak says:
    Martha, Jay, and Jennifer: It is with a heavy heart that we have learned of Bob's passing. We are deeply saddened and extend our sincere condolences. As our family gathered at this time of year, we fondly remember celebrating the holidays with Bob, Helen, Earl Sr and Jr and Ken. From my earliest memories, my big cousins were the greatest. I treasure the memories of your family out in Goleta, California as a ragged college kid ..and you, Martha, with your 'babies', and menagerie. I also appreciated you 'stopping by' my homes in Colorado for a visit.....and a visit with you out in the Illinois woods. We have always felt grateful and connected to you, thanks in great part to your holiday letters. I will miss his annual summaries. We have just celebrated (a little early) Elly's 95th birthday today. All of Rays childeren (Claire and Katie) and grandchildren (-4-) were here, as were Lucile's (Allison and Ben) and her young grandson. My two daughters, Stephe and Julieana were also here in Chicago for the festivities. I can only imagine the big empty space at your table yesterday...and know that our thoughts and sympathy are extended to you and your families. I know that I speak for Ray and Lu, as well as Elly, in hoping that he had a peaceful passing after his long fight. Know that he will always be remembered as a treasured member of our family. with all Love, Ron Rusnak with Aunt Elly.