Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 28, 2014

Russell L. Burgher

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Russell L. Burgher, 92, of Centerville, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 at the Centerville Nursing and Rehab Center in Centerville.

He was born on Nov. 7, 1921 in La Plata, Mo., the son of Arthur and Edna Bernice (Brown) Burgher. Following high school graduation, Russell enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served his country as a 2nd lieutenant pilot during World War II. Russell was united in marriage to Rilla L. Heintze on Feb. 1, 1942. To this union a son, Rusty was born.

Following his discharge from the military, Russell returned to the Centerville area. He spent a short period of time working for the Appanoose County Sale Barn. Eventually, he took a position in banking with Iowa Trust and Savings Bank. His career with the bank began in the mid 1960s, retiring in 1986. During his years with the bank, Russell’s primary focus was in the area of agricultural lending and various other management functions where he served as a trusted advisor to many. He would eventually become executive vice president of Iowa Trust and Savings Bank. Throughout his career in banking, Russell forged many lasting friendships with the bank customers that he served.

Russell was a member of the Elks Club, Future Farmers of America, Centerville Chamber of Commerce and the Appanoose Country Club for many years. He enjoyed staying active in the community. His true passion was raising cattle. Even after his retirement from banking, Russell continued as a cattle farmer. In fact, he could often be found eating his lunch out in the field, spending countless hours observing his cattle. It should be noted that Russell’s bond with his cattle went beyond simple monetary gain. He treated his cattle like his own pets — it broke his heart to take them to a sale. Furthermore, Russell had a special bond with all animals.

He was an avid football fan throughout his lifetime. Russell always cheered on his Kansas City Chiefs and University of Iowa Hawkeyes. He attended many college football games in Iowa City over the years.

He is survived by his wife, Rilla Burgher of Centerville; a son, Rusty Burgher (Tomie) of Sachse, Texas; a niece, Peggy Oden of Centerville; nephew, Tim (Ellen) Wright of Wentzville, Mo.; a great-niece, Dusty Hatfield of Centerville; three great-nephews, Blayne (Heather) Wright of Udell, Zac Price of Centerville and Tye Oden of Ames; and four great-great-nephews and nieces, Lane, Abby, Emmy and Xander.

Russell was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Velma Pearson.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville with Pastor Ken Mehrhoff officiating. Burial with military rites will be held in the Coatsville Cemetery in Coatsville, Mo. A visitation will be held on Saturday at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Memorials have been established to either Appanoose County 4-H or the Appanoose County Fair and may be given to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 S. 18th St., Centerville, Iowa 52544.

Condolences may be shared online at