Russell Appelbaum

Respected Electrical Engineer and Beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, & Friend


Russell Appelbam (aka Russell Robert Appelbaum)


November 19, 1938


September 25, 2020 (81 Years 10Months)




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He was a fighter…

He was hospitalized on September 5, 2020 then was immediately placed in ICU. This was the thrid time the family had to rush him to the hosptial due to sepsis this year.

He beat the odds again and came back to the family on September 14, 2020. Virtua Voorhees did not want to clarify his medical condition and was extremely hesitant to release him to homecare. Russell knew that his body began resisting antimicrobial medications. This picture was taken on September 16, 2020. We all knew how much pain he was in but he tried his best to put a smile on his face.

He couldn’t walk at all. He needed a constant oxygen stream to keep his blood oxygen level above 92. Despite all these troubling circumstances, he was so happy to be with the family again and was determined more than ever. He was able to take a few steps and was able to eat his meal sitting up right in two days, which made his speech, physical and occupational therapists shocked. They all commended his efforts. Deeply moved by his determination, his home visiting nurse, physical and occupational therapists began visting Russell and devoting their personal lives, with no monetary compensation, to Russell, so he could have a fighting chance.

He had always known how hard and tiredlessly Joan, Julie, Sewon, Joon, Max, Rachel, Bonsu, Lisa, Kris, and Stephanie worked around the clock to  look after him, so he could have a chance of recovery. He was really putting up a fight, so he could spend more time with the family and his friends. Russell was a courageous man.

September 24, 2020

The Day of Russell’s

His day started as usual, with help from an aid, he took a bath early in the morning and spent another great day with the family, along with his cat “Ginger.”  For dinner, Russell insisted that he’d have a bowl of Matzah Ball Soup that Joan and Julie made. After dinner, he watched his favorite TV shows, surrounded by two women that he loved the most.

Russell began having trouble breathing around 3:00am on September 25, 2020. Julie and Sewon increased the oxygen flow to help him. However, Russell’s oxygen level began dropping rapidly. The entire family was gathered around Russell and a 911 call was placed. Paramedics were able to stabilize him, but he was suffering. Joan, the love of Russell’s and wife of 60 years, requested the paramedics to take him to Jefferson, so he could finally rest in peace without pain and suffering. Joan was strong. She was assertive and remained calm while she was making this request. She gave him a kiss then thanked him for being such a sweet man in her life for 60 years.

Joon, Russell’s oldest grandson, held Russell’s hand as Julie lied down next to him on his hospital bed at Jefferson’s ER, stroking his hair and comforting him until he took his final breath and went into his pain-and-suffering-free eternal rest. Russell passed away at 5:05am on September 25, 2020, surrounded by the family members who cared for him dearly.

September 25, 2020

Empty Void Feeling &

After Russell moved in with his daughter Julie in April of 2019, he made many friends and surrounded himself with people that genuinely loved and cared for him.

Russell’s cat, Ginger, slept on his bed all day not knowing where Russell went.

Julie and Sewon couldn’t get a hold of Russell’s therapists in time to notify them. Many of his therapists ended up coming to the house to see Russell. When they discovered Russell’s passing, every single one of them ended up bursting in tears. These people have been so wonderful to Russell. They all saw how much he was being loved by his family and how badly he wanted to get better. His home visiting nurse, Lisa, found out the news and called Julie. Lisa is 6′ 2″ tall and tough as nails. Although she has been in her practice for many decades, even she cried over the phone for 30 minutes. 

He was always kind to everyone and was well liked by many.

He will be dearly missed.

Hello friends and family…

Hello friends, family, and Rabbi Richler. First of all, I’d like to say, I lost someone very special in my life, my husband of 60 years. Russ was my best friend and one of the bravest men I know.

But first I’d like to tell you how we met. I was 18 years old with a long ponytail. My mom asked me one Friday night in August to go to the market with her. My mom had M.S. and had some trouble walking. She pushed a cart , and I got a basket. She gave me a small list for the produce department. I stopped to get a couple of red tomatoes. When I heard someone behind me say, “Hey lady. Don’t squeeze the tomatoes.”

When I turned around, he smiled and started asking me questions where I went to High School. It turned out he knew a few kids in my high school class. Then he asked me if I liked pizza, which I did. He said he would drive my mom and me home from the market, then we went back to his house in West Philly, so he could shower and get dressed. We had a lot of fun while sharing a pizza, and the rest was history. We dated for a while and got married September 10th, 1960. My father gave us a beautiful wedding. We left for our honeymoon in the Poconos. In 1964, we had our first child David and he was adored by us all. In 1968, we were blessed with a baby girl, Julie Sara. We had a small row home in Overbrook Park. He had graduated Temple with an Electronics Engineering degree, while working in his field, there were many layoffs, but we managed.

His best two jobs came later in life. He had a very successful career at Mars Electronics as an Electronics Engineer then he worked at QVC as a Quality Assurance Manager until he retired. We bought a condo at the Valley Forge Towers, while he was working for Mars Electronics, and enjoyed living there for 20 years. He travelled frequently and earned a lot of frequent flyer miles, which gave us the opportunity to travel a great deal and see some countries and a few cities in the U.S. I also worked for Dr. Katzman in the area and we made double payments on the condo. By the time Russ retired from QVC, the condo was paid off. We were immensely proud of that.

In conclusion, when you see a butterfly right after you lose a loved one, it means that they are not going through any more pain or suffering. The day he passed away, we saw a large blue butterfly in our garden, and it stayed there for a long time.

Written by Joan M. Appelbaum on September 29, 2020
September 29, 2020

A Heartfelt Thanks to:
Friends and Jewish Communities

The funeral service for Russell followed Orthodox Judaism Funeral Customs and was a truely wonderful and meaningful event. Friends and Jewish communities from all around the united states and other countries, came together and made it possible in such a short period of time.  The service began with pouring rain then the sun came out as the Rabbi was blessing Russ’ departure with prayers alone. Some said, the rain was Russ’ tears of joy then the sunshine was his happy and fulfilled soul departing his body.

מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: יְהוָה רֹעִי, לֹא אֶחְסָר
בִּנְאוֹת דֶּשֶׁא, יַרְבִּיצֵנִי; עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי
נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב; יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְּלֵי-צֶדֶק, לְמַעַן שְׁמוֹ
גַּם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת, לֹא-אִירָא רָע– כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָּדִי
שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ, הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי
תַּעֲרֹךְ לְפָנַי, שֻׁלְחָן– נֶגֶד צֹרְרָי
דִּשַּׁנְתָּ בַשֶּׁמֶן רֹאשִׁי, כּוֹסִי רְוָיָה
אַךְ, טוֹב וָחֶסֶד יִרְדְּפוּנִי– כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּי
וְשַׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-יְהוָה, לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים