Loving Father, Grandfather & Great-Grandfather
Russell Taylor Kerby, Jr., 98, of Maplewood, NJ, formerly of Summit, NJ, passed peacefully on October 13, 2021.
He was born to the late Russell Taylor Kerby, Sr, and Regina Brunner Kerby on May 14, 1923, in Brooklyn, NY. Russell graduated from Summit High School and Exeter Academy and received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University in 1944. After serving in the army, he returned to Cornell and graduated with his law degree in 1949.
Russell practiced law in Summit for more than 50 years, rising to Senior Partner at Kerby, Cooper, Schaul, English and Garvin, now known as Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper. He was very involved in the Summit community, serving on and advising several groups, including Summit Downtown Businessman’s Association, Kiwanis Club, Summit Area Public Foundation, SAGE and the American Red Cross. Russell also served a term as City Solicitor for the Town of Summit. He was very proud of his years supporting The Midland School, in North Branch, NJ, serving people with physical and development disabilities.
Russell is pre-deceased by his wife of 65 years, Eleanor Reynolds Kerby. He was the loving father of six children, Stephen and wife Janet, James and wife Leslie, Kathleen Shanley and husband Daniel, Russell T. III and wife Karen, Carolyn Licata and husband James, Christine Fitts and husband Andrew. He is also the proud grandfather of 11 grandchildren, Jeffrey Kerby, Lindsay Kerby, Micky Kerby, Kerby DeJesus, Natalie Kerby, Jonathan Kerby, Katherine Licata, Kevin Kerby, Brian Licata, Margot Fitts, and Owen Fitts and his great-granddaughter, Kaylee DeJesus. He is predeceased by his sister, Jean Boland.
Russell was beloved by many for his positive spirit and great smile. His yellow legal pad was always filled with jokes to share. He had his daily rituals. Mornings began with a heaping bowl of fruit – even if his children thought some of the fruit had passed its prime- and listening to “Rambling with Gambling”. At sunset (or earlier), wherever he was, a scotch cocktail was enjoyed. Dinner was always held by candlelight, discussing the day’s events, and listening to jazz (or occasionally, classical music, for El.)
Russ loved music, jazz most of all. He played trumpet for the Elusive Eleven, a group of friends who shared a passion for the Big Band Era. He was one of the few in the family who could carry a tune, and would tuck in his kids at night, singing old favorites like “Aura Lee” and “The Bear Who Went Over the Mountain”. He loved his Cornell years and would fondly sing the alma mater and Cornell fight songs. He loved a day on the golf course, especially playing in Member-Guests with his brother-in-law or sons, and even won a few.
Russ and El had a wonderful, loving life together, filled with children and grandchildren, and travels around the world. They were hosts of many joyous events, often filled with storytelling and music and his famous whiskey sours. The annual Christmas gathering included raucous gift exchanges, teasing and off-key carol singing. Summers were spent at Keuka Lake, filled with sailing and golf and many wonderful memories.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, October 17, 2021, from 2 pm to 5 pm at the Bradley Brough & Dangler Funeral Home, 299 Morris Ave. Summit, NJ. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at 10:30 am at St. Joseph’s Church, 767 Prospect St. Maplewood, NJ. An internment will follow on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Penn Yan, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be sent in Memory of Russell to the Midland Foundation, PO Box 5026, North Branch, NJ, 08876.