Russell E. Gortner, Jr.

Birth Date: 
Monday, March 30, 1942
Date of Passing: 
Thursday, June 17, 2021

Russell E. Gortner, Jr., 79, of Medina died June 17, 2021 at his home surrounded by his family. 

He was born March 30, 1942, the son of Russell and Mary (Gindlesperger) Gortner. On August 2, 1964, he married Mary Ellen Ladrach.

Russ graduated from Northwestern High School in 1960 and The Ohio State University, College of Pharmacy in 1965. He served with the Ohio Army National Guard. He began his long career as a community pharmacist at Giffin Prescription Center in Wooster. He established Gortner Pharmacy in Lodi in 1972 and Seville Pharmacy in 1990. In 1995 he sold his stores and worked for various pharmacies including Reynolds Drug in Orrville, and Weiss Pharmacy and CVS in Ashland.

Russ enjoyed all sports, especially baseball, and played on two state championship teams for the Northwestern Huskies, basketball ‘58 and baseball ‘59. He loved hunting, fishing, playing poker, and time spent playing games with his grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

He is survived by his wife Mary Ellen; children John Gortner (Terri), Susan Mason (Sean), Karen Strauss (Mike), Michelle Gortner Hamad (Paul); grandchildren Katelyn Pankuch, Keith Pankuch, Nick Pankuch, Miles Mason, Ian Mason, Lydia Hamad, Avery Mason, and James Strauss; great grandchild Mazie Pankuch; brother Larry Gortner (Joanne) and nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his parents; uncles Carl, Robert, Clayton, and Wayne Gortner; and niece Anne Wolf.

At his request, no service will be held. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Anne M. Wolf Breast Cancer Foundation P.O. Box 83 Orrville, Ohio 44667.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Memorial Contributions: 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Anne M. Wolf Breast Cancer Foundation P.O. Box 83 Orrville, Ohio 44667.


At his request, no service will be held. A celebration of life will be held at a future date.


We just loved him so much, such a great and funny guy!! Vince said he’s probably up there catching monster salmon about now and our son Gordy chimed in with or playing the penny slots! Haha. We will miss you Russie Poo!!!!

We just loved him so much. Great friend and truly a funny guy! Vince said he’s probably up there catching monster salmon about now, and our son Gordy chimed in, Or playing the penny slots haha!! We will miss you Russie Poo!

Mary, John, Susan, Michelle and Karen- our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. I thought of all of you a few weeks back as we drove into Cleveland. Russ always had a wonderful smile and genuine concern for us Ladrach cousins.

So sorry for your loss prayers are with the family

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary and family. Russ was an outstanding student-athlete at Northwestern and was an excellent role model for all aspiring NW athletes. He was a winner on the court, on the field, and in life. I treasured our conversations which always reflected his sense of humor. May he rest in peace.

So sorry to hear of your loss. I graduated for Northwestern in 1972. Russ was the reason I became a pharmacist. When I worked at Lodi Community Hospital I used His pharmacy occasional to get meds to cover me until my order came in. He was our family pharmacist when he was in Wooster and we lived in New Pittsburg.

Roger McKinstry

Mary Ellen, Thoughts and Prayers for You and your family at this sad time.

Am so sad at Russ passing!! Russ and Mary Ellen are fellow class mates of 1960 Northwestern High School !! Both are the best of the very best!! Russ and me were team mates on baseball team and Russ also excelled on basketball teams!! Remember Russ driving pill pusher vehicle delivering prescriptions for Griffin Drugs his first job as pharmacists!! And wonderful memories of Russ and Mary Ellen on class trip all over the West!! RIP Russ and is now reaping his eternal reward!!!None better then Russ!!

I am sorry for your loss. We always loved being around Russ as he was such a wonderful quiet person that sincerely cared about others.
He will be so missed, and you are very blessed to have been married to him for so many years. He was a special man.

I am numb....Can only imagine the loss your family is feeling. Mary both were so good to me as a new hire in 1982.Russ was pall bearer for my dad(upon dad's request.He was and in memory will always be special to so many people.

I am very sorry to hear of Russ passing. My deepest sympathy to all of you. May your memories help you deal with your sorrow. Thinking of you and wishing you strength and peace. ⁸

We were so sorry to hear the news from Emerson that Russ had passed...he and John were truly very best buddies in school and always had much to talk about in later years. Their basketball and baseball years together were very special to both of them and will always be wonderful memories. We send our sincere condolences to you, Mary Ellen, and your family. We are sincerely sorry for your loss...Russ was a very special person and kind to all.

My sincerest condolences to the family during this difficult time

Thank you for your service. Condolences to the family. Wooster-Wayne Chapter DAR

Mary Ellen, so sorry to hear about Russ. So many, many, fun times we had in Lodi! He will be missed.

Sorry for your loss, prayers for the family. Russ was an awesome man. Always had time to chat and would fill you in on information the Doctors forgot to tell you.

We are deeply sorry for the loss of Uncle Russ. We always enjoyed talking to Russ and liked his sly humor. Our family picnics and get togethers won't be the same without him. Please know that you are in our thoughts. Deepest sympathy to all of you.

Russ will always be remembered as having a huge smile and a generous heart for everyone. He personified love. Your family is in our hearts and prayers. You know how much we love you all. Sending hugs and praying for each of you.
Mike, Doris, and Angela Ladan

Mary Ellen, John, Susan, Karen, and Michelle, I am sorry to hear of the passing of Uncle Russ. I have many fun memories of holidays and family get togethers with Russ and all of you. Russ was always kind and had a great sense of humor. Lifting you and your families in prayer during this time of sadness. May memories, family, and friends provide strength and comfort.

We were sorry to hear and read the very sad news about Russ. He was a great person as a student as Northwestern, and so lucky and talented to have contributed to two state championship NHS teams. We hope that these and other great memories will help you through this sad time. Our sincere condolences to Mary Ellen and all.

Mary Ellen, we were so sorry to read of Russ's passing in the Daily Record. We think back to National Guard Days together.
May your many loving memories help to provide you with some solace through this most difficult time. Our sincerest sympathy.

So sorry to hear of Russ’s passing. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of your family.

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