MASON CITY: Dr. Russell E. Schurtz passed peacefully into history on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 in Aiken, South Carolina. A memorial service will be held at 3:30 PM on Saturday, November 7, at St John's Episcopal Church, 120 1st Street NE, Mason City. A Celebration of Life will follow from 5-7 PM at the MacNider Museum. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to: Clear Lake Yacht Club Sailing School, Box 29, Clear Lake, IA 50428; MacNider Museum, 303 Second Street Mason City, IA 50401: NIACC Foundation, 500 College Drive, Mason City. IA 50401.
He was born on October 19, 1941 in Mason City to Harold E. Schurtz and his wife, Mildred A. Schurtz. He graduated from Mason City High School (Class of 1959), Mason City Junior College (now NIACC), the University of Iowa, and the University of Iowa College of Medicine (Class of 1967). Russ received his training in Otolaryngology (ENT) at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. He entered the United States Army and served a three-year tour at the 196th Station Hospital, SHAPE, Belgium.
On returning stateside, he fulfilled a life-long dream by joining Surgical Associates in Mason City as their solo Otolaryngologist. He was practicing with physicians he greatly admired in the hospital where he was born. His career spanned thirty years as Surgical Associates became Mason City Clinic. As an associate professor at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, one hundred aspiring young Otolaryngologists continued their surgical training under his tutelage. Respect for his patients, office and hospital staffs was very important to him, and he was constantly striving to impart this concept to his residents. He was especially gratified to have recruited five of the best and brightest of these residents to join him in practice in Mason City.
Having grown up in Mason City, Russ was devoted to the betterment of his community. He served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, chaired the forty-ninth Band Festival, was a trustee of the MacNider Museum and the NIACC Foundation, and a President of the Medical Staff of Mercy Hospital North Iowa. As a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, he served on its Vestry as Junior Warden. He was also part of the " Radio Rangers" group that brought public radio to Mason City.
Russ enjoyed many recreational activities. As a high school student, he and a friend bought a much-used sailboat, launched it in Clear Lake and taught themselves to sail by the trial-and-error method. He continued to sail for the rest of his life, and although he sailed on many other bodies of water, Clear Lake was always at the top of his list. He served as Commodore of the Clear Lake Yacht Club in 1999. While in the Army, he was introduced to equestrian sports. Family and work got in the way until later in his life, when he embraced horses with a passion. Horse shows, playing polo and carriage driving provided a multiplicity of experiences and acquaintances that enriched his life.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, with whom he recently celebrated 50 years of marriage; daughters, Liska Johnson (Derrick), Edina MN and Hunter Callanan (Casey), Clear Lake; sister, Nancy Crane (Ron), Iowa City and brother Dr. Steven Schurtz (Cheryl), Mason City; grandchildren, Porter and Emma Johnson, Edina, MN; niece, Elleson Schurtz, Fargo, ND; nephews, Stuart Schurtz (Kara), Columbia Heights, MN, Jeff Crane (Jan), Webster City, Rus Crane (Kelley), Mason City and Steve Crane, Iowa City.
He was preceded in death by his parents.