JOHN WILLIAM RUSSELL
W. Russell was born
Seven children were born to this union with two having preceded Mr. and Mrs. Russell in death. Harold, Leo(died in 1929), Ezra, John W.. Jr., (died in 1941), Ruth, Wiley and Travis. John Jr' s son Bob grew up in the home after the deaths of his parents, and Bob's brothers Bill and Butch lived there the latter years of their high school. In addition, several other boys enjoyed the hospitality of the home for a time.
The life of a pioneer
was hard and the 1910-1911 year saw the family back in
It was while he was a
member of the Roosevelt County School Board that the
He was one of the early farmers who took up dairying and had one of the first Grade-A Dairy Farms. His interests were wide and he was a community man of top ranking. He was known as Mr. Republican in the days when the Democratic party reigned. He was a popular chairman to preside at functions of his community and county. He possessed a rare ability to keep a meeting going with all sides of the question entertained with harmony.
His children knew him
as a kind and loving father whose opinions were rendered for their good. In
addition to the above children named he is survived by a sister; Josie Crittenden,
His obituary has intimated that his heart and his home were open. It was! Truly, the latchstring; of his home was on the outside for all to reach, and truly the latchstring of his heart was there for all. to know and feel his warmth and his genuine concern.
The write-up in the
Portales paper said he was a philosopher. He was! He must surely have been
acquainted with many of the writers of history on the subject. To me - he had
an advantage over the writers. He studied them all and created his own, and then lived by it every day
of his life. He quoted Shakespeare and Yeats, and Longfellow, and. Bryant and
Kipling. A favorite poem wan Thanatopsis. He knew the
Bible as few laymen are privileged to know it. He lived it daily. For many
years I thought he belonged to my
I came to find that
he belonged to no denomination, and he used the excuse that there was no place
for differences over the small issues.
He would say, and I quote - "I belong to the
He was a mason, and secretary Ed Fenton will tell you that he is indebted for new and refreshing interpretations Mr. John gave of the tenets and dogma of the fraternity. HE WAS THAT WAY! He was not satisfied to repeat the phrases that others repeated. He must chew it and digest it, and turn it over and look at it under the magnifying glass of logic and reason.
I have wished that I could have been a few years younger and sat in his Sunday school. classes for the youth of Floyd high School. He had a reputation for being unexcelled.
been told of his being elected to the Hall of Fame for Educators in 1965. Foy
Jones (who sponsored him) loaned me last evening the transcripts of those who
wrote. 1etters of recommendation for him. Iurlene Morrison wrote for the eighth graders of
Portales in 1913 .as follows:
"We are better citizens for having known him through the years." A. E. Hunt, who served under him as
I am told that a few nights before his passing, a person passing down the hall found all the nurses congregated around his bedside. Of course they were being enthralled by his words. I can see them in my mind's eye - so can you, and I can imagine some of the words he used and the inspiration that was theirs. This illustrates the magnetism that was his!
I offer a personal experience, when back in those days when I was a young superintendent I went to him with a problem. We had a boy in school who seemed incorrigible. Talking to -- whipping -- all manners of' approach seemed to fail all. of us. Mr. John said - "Don't ever let a boy know that you have given up on him. You may be at your rope's end - but should he feel your despair, he will despair of himself. There is a way: remember that there is someone just around the corner that can handle him and handle him easily." I learned a great lesson that afternoon and I have come back to it and used it and passed it along to others many, many times.
To you children and down to the great-great-grandchildren, and to all the relatives and friends - I would remind you that we don't really mourn his passing. rather, we mourn for ourselves. We will miss him - and we surely should! But we will remember the good. We will remember his counsel. We will remember his example. We will remember his generosity and his dedication - and we will remind ourselves that he has gone on to catch up with Mother, for he would have planned it no other way. This then; he has left us - a clear, well-marked path by which we too may serve God and man.
I think one of the finest of eulogies to .our beloved were the words of nephew Paul. Russell who said to some of his cousins at the time of Mr. John's passing; "he will never be gone." And that, friends and loved ones, is a great, great truth.
Dec. 7, .I970
It was great privilege to be asked to have a part in the memorial service for your dad. He seemed always so big to me - both in stature and in mind. I suppose when I try to make one word fit him it would be "statesmanship." He always put principle above all else.
I was so very fortunate to have come to Floyd. You people took me in and trained me after your pattern of life and I have always treasured those thirteen years.
Overall, I suppose that our service was too long. But I don't know what could have been left out for either Homer or myself. Your dad was such a wide person.
Ed note: correction to above: J W Russell, referred to above as John jr.. was in fact named J W Russell, not John Jr. John Harold was given the name John, so Johnny was J W’s nickname. Mr. John had nicknames for all the kids. Travis, adopted about 1950, was “Buttermilk”. Wiley was “Geronimo” or “Jiggs”. Ruth was “Fuzzybunch.”. I never earned a name – he wondered how it was that he learned more from me than he did from all the others as they grew up.