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Russell Foregger, 68, passed away peacefully at his home in Waterbury Center on October 23, 2006. He fought a courageous, tenacious and high-spirited three-year battle with leukemia.
Foregger is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Judy; his sons, Douglas and Robert; his daughters-in-law, Emily and Elizabeth; and his four beautiful grandchildren, Thatcher, Lassiter, Annie and Lily. Russell is predeceased by his mother and father, Lily and Dr. Richard von Foregger, and his brother, Jack Foregger.
Russell was born in New York City on November 2, 1937, and raised in Roslyn, New York. In his early youth, Russell discovered a love for the violin, giving his first violin recital at the age of four and going on to be a NY high school all-state violinist. Russell was a licensed HAM amateur radio operator, which he claims helped him find inner focus and balance as a teenager. Russell was a standout athlete with a special passion for track and field, a sport which would later become an integral part of his life. While football was not his primary high school sport, he would often tell the story of playing against Jim Brown, boasting that he ALMOST tackled Brown but not really!
Upon graduating from Hofstra University, Russell returned to Roslyn to work as an executive for the Foregger Company, one of the early pioneers and manufacturers of modern anesthesia equipment. As a youth Russell had also spent his summer months working at the Foregger Company. During his early adulthood he also found a passion in natural light photography, actively documenting everything around him with a special interest in portraiture.
Russell and Judy, as college sweethearts and then as a young family, would often take ski weekends to VT, including Stowe. As the family grew he decided that NY was no place to raise his family and moved to VT full time in 1972. It was not until moving to VT that he truly found home. He was a study of vernacular New England architecture, lovingly restoring several old barns and houses all before restoration was in vogue. In Stowe Village, he was an early advocate of "commercially viable" historic preservation. He was a dedicated steward of his farm and land conservation as a practice-all while remaining a strong proponent of land owner rights. He could often be found out on one of his big John Deere tractors cutting fields or clearing trails.
In 1974, Russell and Judy founded Green Mt. Antiques of Stowe, which became one of New England's premier boutique antique shops. The family, however, considered this endeavor his personal museum, with Russell acting as chief museum curator and historian! Russell's passion for reading, often volumes from the 18th and 19th century, complemented his rigorous approach to antiquities. It was rare that an antique was sold without a detailed history and provenance.
In 1982, Russell spearheaded a 350-volunteer effort in the Waterbury and Mad River Valley community to transform a swamp into Harwood's present day track facility. He was awarded Mountain Trust's (Chittenden Bank) 1983 Good Citizen of the Year award for these efforts. He was also instrumental in several community projects, including the procurement of the Hope Davey Field, Waterbury Center's current recreational facility.
Over the past 26 years as a volunteer and national caliber shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throwing coach, he has impacted many of Vermont's top track and field athletes and hundreds of other fantastic kids. He coached, assisted or mentored throwers to over 40 state championships, 13 New England championships, a junior national team position and a U.S. Olympic team position. Additionally, he coached the U.S. Honduran National Team on behalf of the U.S. State Department for the Central American Games. While he was proud of his throwers' athletic achievements, he was more proud of his athletes' achievements in life. While Russell was a fiercely private person, he loved to teach and share his knowledge with all of his "track kids" as he liked to call them.
The most recent part of Russell's life journey was all about his grandchildren. In the winter he loved to pull his little granddaughters up the ski hill behind his farmhouse on his snowmobile. He could also be frequently seen on the living room floor with the girls playing games or doing puzzles. There is nothing he loved more. One of his parting wishes was to make it to the birth of his first grandson, which he did! He named his grandson Thatcher, after the brook that runs through his property.
When speaking with a close family friend a few days prior to his passing, Russell said, "I could not have asked for a better life." We tend to agree. How many shot putters play the violin? He was a complex yet simple person, known for his world-class bear hugs.
The family has selected a private burial although a public memorial service is open to all who would like to come celebrate his life. The service will be held at the Waterbury Center Community Church at 2 p.m., November 4. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Russell Foregger Track & Field Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 74, Waterbury Center, VT, 05677.
To send on-line condolences please visit www.perkinsparker.com. Arrangements are in the care of the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury.