James E. 'Jim' Russell

Posted: Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Longtime Clam Gulch resident James E. "Jim" Russell died Friday, May 29, 2009, at his home in Clam Gulch. He was 67.

A celebration of life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 6, at the Johnson Lake Recreation Park in Kasilof.

Mr. Russell was born Aug. 11, 1941, to James O. and Edith L. (Halvorson) Russell in Laurel, Mont. He grew up in Billings, Mont., and graduated from Billings Senior High School in 1959. Mr. Russell worked in the family roofing business in Billings, then entered into the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves from 1959 to 1962. He moved to Alaska in 1960 and homesteaded in Clam Gulch in 1963. He began a lifelong career as a commercial fisherman from 1961 until 2008. He also worked in electronics repair for several years.

Mr. Russell was baptized in the Lutheran Church. He was a school volunteer at the Tustumena Elementary School and loved calling bingo at the school. He took classes of school children to the beach and taught them to dig clams and all the many facets of setnetting. He also participated in "Trunk or Treat" for Halloween, was a Boy Scout leader for 13 years and had hosted many salmon barbecues at his fish site for visiting scout troops.

Mr. Russell enjoyed storytelling, camping, computers, photography and the outdoors.

"Jim wished to let his children know that no matter what was said or done, he always loved each and every one of them. Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. Thank you for being our dad! Jim was a jokester who always knew how to have fun and make people around him laugh. He was a mentor to many kids. Jim always knew how to make you laugh, whether the joke was good or just corny," his family said.

Mr. Russell was preceded in death by his father, James O. Russell; sister, Wanda E. Russell; and son, David W. Russell.

He is survived by his wife Nancy Russell of Clam Gulch; mother, Edith L. Russell of Clam Gulch; sons, James N. and wife, Marites Russell, of the Philippines, Coda S. Russell of Anchorage, Levi D. Russell of Kenai and Eric W. and wife, Kim Smith, of Massachusetts; daughters, Susan L. Russell of Tennessee, Katherine C. and husband, Brian Covey, of Ninilchik, Jamey E. Russell of Anchorage, Brittany M. Russell of Clam Gulch, Allison L. and husband, Bryan Provencher, of New Hampshire and Vicki L. Smith of New Hampshire; 14 grandchildren; sisters, Neva Osmar of Kasilof, Nancy Richar of Trapper Creek and Darcy and husband, Lee Keyser, of Billings; brothers, Ronald and wife, Audrey Russell, of Clam Gulch and Rick Russell of Montana; and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Russell's memory to the American Cancer Society, 1057 W. Fireweed Ave., Suite 204, Anchorage, AK 99503.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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