The Reverend Mr. Russell E. Volker, Sr. 83
The Reverend Mr. Russell E. Volker, Sr. is preceded by his beloved wife Beverly J. Volker (nee Ott) and survived by his spouse, Mark L. Volker; children Robin D. Woolf, Russell E. Volker Jr. (Tina), and Renee Wilson (Steven); grandchildren Noah M. Belt (Rachel), Caryn N. (nee Belt) Long (Charles), Ethan H. Wilson, Russell “Rusty” E. Volker III (Amanda), and Christian H. Wilson; and great grandchildren James Long, Brantley Volker, Taylor Long, Eli Volker, and Varrah Volker.
By vocation, he was a draftsman for Locke Insulators and General Electric. He worked primarily on communications equipment, notably critical insulation for the black boxes used in aviation.
His avocations were evident in the application of his considerable talents to different aspects of the arts. He published in magazines numerous drawings that expressed his perceptions of the world and his wondrous imagination. A music and theater lover, he patronized professional productions and performed locally.
He reveled in the simple pleasures and perquisites of life, extending from family functions to festivals to church socials, as well as sporting and cultural events. His deep appreciation of nature led him to engage in the serenity of camping retreats at secluded sites in mountain forests and along the coastal beach.
A lifelong gardener, he designed and maintained bountiful vegetable and beautiful landscape gardens. The latter included his widely admired terraced meditation gardens in Maryland, where it was possible to see a visiting robed monk silently traversing at twilight the uppermost stone path or to discover at its gate anonymous contributions of new seedlings to plant.
His musical tastes ranged from eclectic popular to opera, from Doris Day to Mady Mesplé, and he raised his own voice in song, recording both religious and popular music. He sang in church choirs for decades, his longest tenure being at the First Church of God, his last at Old St. Paul’s in Baltimore.
He became an ordained deacon in later life and incarnated the deepest spiritual teachings of his faith. He opened the parsonage where he lived to visitors and guests, sharing his own home with the homeless and infirm while helping them to stabilize their lives. His quiet, humble demeanor masked a gift for perspicacious insight that made him an invaluable counselor and guide.
His preternatural apprehension of human nature often led him to take exceptional care in finding just the right words to convey his own thoughts and feelings. His great integrity enabled him to surmount both personal challenges and tests of faith. Throughout his long final illness, he found substantial comfort in spiritual practice.
The Reverend Mr. Volker is best remembered for his engaging smile, his kindly eyes, and in particular his selfless devotion, compassionate understanding, and unconditional love. His legacy is manifest in his children and their children and their children, in his works of art, in the blossoms of his gardens, and in all the lives that his life touched.