Joseph. L. Russell

Funeral Services:

Joseph Lee Russell, 86, of Olivet, passed away Friday, January 25, 2019 at his residence.  Joe was born on June 21, 1932 in Birmingham in his grandparents’ house to Irving and Mary (Plowfield) Russell. Growing up, he was called J. Lee but became Joe at work. His nieces and nephews still knew him as Uncle Jay.

Joe graduated from Olivet High School in 1950 and worked at Post until he entered the United States Army on October 14, 1952. He proudly served our country until his honorable discharge on October 13, 1954. Joe was an M.P. doing guard duty during classified atomic testing on Pacific atolls. He then returned to work at Post.

Joseph married Anita Shreve on September 30, 1955. He met and wooed her from his Harley Davidson, cruising downtown Marshall. In 1964, Joe and Anita, along with a group of friends, traveled by motorcycle to Alaska. They saw firsthand the damage from an earthquake and the majestic scenery. They shared 63 loving years together.

Joe worked in several positions before his four-year apprenticeship to become an electrician for Post Cereal Company in Battle Creek. He also became an elevator repairman and was later sent to Pennsylvania for training when operations became electronic. After 36 years, he retired in 1987. He was able to spend time with his daughter Judy, helping her and her husband, Steve Langridge modernize their milking operation before her untimely death in 1990.

Joseph enjoyed woodworking, cutting firewood, growing blueberries and strawberries and just being in the woods. He and Anita drove many miles in their motor home, visiting friends and family in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. They even went to the Rose Bowl Parade, although it rained that year and dad got separated from the group. Mom wouldn’t let the bus leave without him. When their first great-granddaughter was born, they gave up traveling so they could watch her grow. He continued riding his Harley until last summer, although mom began to say “No thanks!” He always drove an Allis Chalmers tractor and located and restored several for his sons and grandson.

Joseph is survived by his wife, Anita Russell of Olivet; children, Jan (Matthew Taylor) Russell of Olivet, Joe (Angela) Russell II of Olivet, John Russell of Olivet, and Joni (Will) White of Charlotte; grandchildren, Daniel (Angela Porter) Corralez, Justin Corralez, Joshua (Kelly) Russell, Jordan (Casey) Russell, and Zach Russell; four great-grandchildren, Audrey Russell, Amelia Russell, Kaius Russell, and Keion Adams; sisters, Marianna Wells, and Barbara (Richard) Gellasch. 

He was preceded in death by parents, Irving and Mary Russell; daughter, Judy Langridge; sisters, Ruth Van Lieuw, Maxine Baker, and Audrey Rice; and brother, Willis Russell.

Funeral services were held at Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services, Marshall Chapel on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 11 a.m., with Pastor Doug Hammond officiating. Joseph was laid to rest in Bosworth Cemetery following the services.

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