Joseph Russell “Russ” Garris Sr. of Towanda, Pennsylvania, passed away on Sunday, June 9, 2019 surrounded by loving family after a period of declining health.

Born Oct. 19, 1929 in Shavertown, Pennsylvania, to Joseph C. and Florence Hendershot Garris, Russ grew up on Spring Hill, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Wyalusing Valley High School in 1948. On June 28, 1952, Russ married Sally Joan Wilson at the Spring Hill United Methodist Church. They would have celebrated their 67th anniversary this year. Russ was predeceased by his parents and his three older sisters, Dorthy Benninger, Neva Benninger and Hilda Whipple.

Russ loved baseball and played for Wyalusing Valley High School, usually walking home after the games, late at night to Spring Hill. He could run like a deer and was a tribute to his team. After graduation, he played on town teams — softball on week nights and baseball on weekends. In the mid-sixties, Russ was self-employed by purchasing dry cleaning routes from J. Earl Newhart of Laceyville, running one of the routes himself five days a week to Wilkes-Barre to be cleaned and delivered. He built his own plant, Alpine Cleaners, in Wysox, Pennsylvania, which employed 25 people. The business thrived and was sold in 1979. Today that location is known as Alpine Plaza. Another business endeavor was the Garris Restaurant on Main Street in Towanda. He also worked for several years at Sears in Wysox, where he was an award-winning salesman. After retiring, he re-entered the working world along with his wife and managed two large apartment complexes for Holly Manor Associates in Vestal, New York.

Russ is survived by his wife, Sally J. Garris; daughter, Judith K. Obermanns (James) of Rochester Hills, Michigan; son, Joseph R. Garris Jr. (Christine) of Towanda; and grandchildren, Christian A. Obermanns of Berkeley, California, Maren A. Obermanns of Rochester Hills, Michigan, Eda V. Obermanns of Edinburgh, Scotland, Marissa Garris Barnett (Rhyan) of Towanda, Kyleen Garris, Joseph R. Garris III, Paige Garris, Erika Garris Severson (Eric); and two great-grandchildren, Wyatt and Sawyer Severson, all of Towanda.

A private funeral service will be held at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours.

Interment will be in the Spring Hill Cemetery. The Maryott-Bowen Funeral Home of Towanda is assisting the Garris family with arrangements. The family suggests that contributions may be directed to the Bradford County Humane Society, P.O. Box 179, Ulster, PA 18850, in memory of Joseph Russell Garris Sr.

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