John Russell Opdycke, age 91, of rural Stryker, passed away on Friday, October 13, 2017, at Genesis Health Care in Bryan.
Prior to his retirement he had been a lifelong area farmer. Russ was also a gunsmith and specialized in making muzzle loading rifle barrels. He had also worked at the ARO Corporation in Bryan as a machinist and welder, and helped design and build the Bryan Canning Factory. As a teenager, he worked for the railroad that went through Stryker, breaking ice off the pans for the steam locomotives.
He was born on a homestead farm in Williams County on March 9, 1926, the son of John and Clara (Garver) Opdycke. On July 2, 1950, he married Roberta Miller, and she preceded him in death in 2007.
Russ was an Army Veteran of World War II, having served in the Pacific Theater. He was a member of the Stryker American Legion Post #60 and the Bryan VFW Post #2489. He had been active in many Masonic organizations, including the Blue Lodge in Bryan, F & AM #215, where he had also served as a past Master, the Scottish Rite in Toledo, the York Rite in Toledo, and the High Twelve. He was a life member of the NRA, a member of the Ohio Gun Collectors Association. Russ was also a mechanic on stock cars for the Bryan Raceway for many years, and built and raced go-karts with his son, Ken. He was a member of the Tiffin River Association, and was a Civil War Reenactor with the 38th OVVI.
Surviving are two sons, Edward (Shirley) Opdycke of Stryker, Kenneth Opdycke of Mason, OH; one daughter, Linda (Bruce) Bernath of Stryker; 16 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife; parents; two brothers, Emerson and George; sister, Jean; and infant sister, Mildred.
The family requests that memorial contributions be given to the Shriners Hospitals. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.grisierfh.com.