ROBERT T. RUSSELL, SR.
Born In The Spirit
Robert Thomas Russell, Sr. was born on January 29, 1931 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia to Christian parents. He was the ninth sibling of ten, two of which died during infancy. Robert was a natural family man. Having the experience of growing up with 7 siblings (Leroy Jr., Louis, Annie Lee, Altamese, Alvin, Carrie, and Lawrence), Robert was adaptable, empathetic, loyal, truthful and trustworthy- traits that would help him throughout life especially as a husband, father, deacon and trustee. His parents, Leroy Russell, Sr. and Addie Wofford Russell were members of Bethlehem Church Of God Holiness in Atlanta, where Robert was introduced to the Lord at an early age. Later when the Russell family relocated to Buffalo, their family attended Mt. Zion Church Of God Holiness, which is a member church in the Churches Of God Holiness, Incorporated.
Education & Military Career
Robert Thomas Russell, Sr. attended Buffalo Public School #75 on Howard Street near the family’s home and Hutchinson Central High School, where he enjoyed playing basketball. After high school, Robert served his country in the United States Army. Following basic training in Fort Dix, NJ, he served entirely at West Point. While in the military, he met and married Alice Ennis. Robert was honorably discharged and he and Alice returned to his home in Buffalo, New York.
Robert and Alice became the proud parents of two sons, Wayne and Robert, Jr. Unfortunately, after 38 years of marriage, Alice succumbed to illness. After being widowed for 16 years, two hearts joined as one and Robert T. Russell, Sr. and Evelyn Greene were married. Their families then became one with six children, 13 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Robert was more than proud and often boasted about their accomplishments.
Robert was never a man to shirk responsibility, which made it possible for him to be consistently employed. Pratt & Letchworth was where he worked the longest as a heavy equipment operator. At M&T Bank, Robert who was extremely trustworthy, worked as a courier. His last tenure was as a limousine chauffeur for the Brian K. Lewis Funeral Homes; it was all in the family.
A Life Of Christian Service
Throughout his adult life, Deacon Robert T. Russell, Sr. was a faithful member of Mt. Zion Church Of God Holiness, where he served as Financial Chairman of the Church. He was a most astute Sunday School scholar and teacher who not only taught his students, but mentored them also. One of Deacon Russell’s favorite activities was working with the Mt. Zion Male Christian Singers; often he led songs. It was during one of the Men’s Days Programs that Deacon Russell gave an awesome performance with his solo lead of “I Am Redeemed,” which happened to be one of his favorite songs. Deacon Russell was known for the robust hymns he raised during prayer services and delivered encouraging testimonies which often brought him to tears while lifting the spirits of many others. While convalescing at High Pointe on Michigan for 4 months during his rehabilitation, Deacon Russell never missed an opportunity to witness and spread the gospel to patients and staff alike. Deacon Russell loved his calling and received great support from his mentor, the late Deacon James C Epps. At the time of his earthly departure, Deacon Russell had served Mt. Zion- Buffalo as a Deacon for over 58 years.
Well Done Faithful Servant!
Robert Thomas Russell, Sr. is preceded in death by his parents, Leroy Russell, Sr. and Addie Wofford Russell; first wife, Alice Russell; siblings, Leroy Russell Jr., Louis Russell, Annie Lee Cooper, Altamese Hill, Alvin Russell, Carrie Smith and Lawrence Russell.
Robert, Sr. memories will be cherished by his wife, Evelyn A. Russell; six children, Wayne (Barbara) Russell of Atlanta, GA, Judge Robert T. (Bonnie) Russell, Jr. of Buffalo, NY, Darrell Russell of Los Angeles, CA, Karen Russell of Lithonia, GA, David Russell and Mark (Rachel) Russell of Buffalo, NY; thirteen grandchildren, Montez, Andre, Elena (Raymour), Elise, Michael, Kelsey, Diya, Kiram, Kayla, Malachi, Maya, Matthew and Milah; seven great-grandchildren, Wayne, Isabelle, Jazmine, Briseis, Xander, Anorah and Talia; first cousin, Florence Gresham and a host of nieces, nephews, loving family and friends.
Visitation will be held Friday, December 7, 2018, 12-7pm at Brian K. Lewis Funeral Homes, 2528 Bailey Ave. Family present from 5-7pm. Family will receive friends Saturday, December 8, 2018, 11am at Mt. Zion Church of God Holiness, 32 Oakgrove Ave. Funeral to follow at 12 noon. Interment held at Forest Lawn Cemetery.