2012-06-14 / Obituaries


Eugene Russell of Llano died on June 7, 2012. He was 92. He was the father of Dr. Bruce Russell of Port Aransas.

Russell was born March 10, 1920, in Del Rio to Myrtle Slaughter and Rex Russell. He died at his home in Llano where he and his wife have lived for the past 56 years.

Russell graduated from Del Rio High School in 1939. He then attended Tarleton University at Stephenville on a football scholarship. He played with a leather helmet under the coaching direction of Gen. Earl Rudder, the future president of Texas A & M University.

In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, later called the U.S. Army Air Corp. He served in the 82nd Fighter Group, 96th Fighter Squadron as crew chief on the P38 Lightning. There he was responsible for maintaining the planes.

Russell served in England, North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

After two years in the service, he came home to Texas on R & R and married his sweetheart, Bettye Louise Burnett. They were married at the Little Chapel in the Woods on Jan. 28, 1945 in Denton.

After the wedding, he returned to duty overseas until VE Day, at which time he and his wife moved to Lubbock. There he attended Texas Tech College, receiving his bachelor’s degree in agriculture education. While attending college he worked at the Creamery, where he ate vanilla ice cream every day, and every day since.

After graduating in 1947, they moved to Castell where Russell taught vocational skills to returning vets.

In 1951, he went to work at Llano Independent School District as the vocational agriculture teacher. In 1954, he attained his Masters of Education at Texas A & M.

He worked for 30 years, retiring in 1980.

He and his agriculture students were credited with numerous projects including building bleachers and pens at the community center, the veterinary clinic and even the first building where he taught school in Castell.

All this was done as part of his job, with funds being raised through many barbecue fundraise r s . He received many conser- vation awards and worked with many Future Farmers of America projects thoughout the years.

In 1960, his livestock judging team won the Houston Fat Stock Show. The team consisted of his son Derral, Randy Leifeste and J. P. Dodgen. He had a livestock judging team that went to the national contest in Kansas City.

After retirement, Russell spent time hunting, fishing and traveling. He and his wife wore out three RV’s and visited all 49 mainland states and Canada.

Russell was a member of Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church since the 1960’s. He served as a trustee, Sunday school teacher and Sunday school superintendant for 12 years. He worked with the youth and built and fixed many projects.

He was president of the Lions Club, member of the Jaycees and the city council and president of the PTA, to name a few.

In 1955, he was named Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Llano County Farm Bureau. In 1977, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Llano Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, he was inducted into the Llano High Hall of Fame as the Humanitarian of the Year.

Russell is survived by his wife; son Derral (Sharan) of Kenedy; son, Bryan (Vicki) of Magnolia; son Bruce (Janie) of Port Aransas and son Dale (Cheri) of Frisco. He had 13 grandchildren, nine greatgrandchildren and Bitsy Russell, whom Russell took in as his daughter.

He was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, Lottie, Christine, Flora and Fannie; grandson Cody Ryan Russell and son, David Aubrey Russell.

Funeral services were held Monday, June 11, at Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church in Llano.

Burial followed at the Llano City Cemetery.

Memorial contributions in Russell’s memory may be made to the Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 397, Llano, TX 78643.

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