(Courtland) – Carl “Chester” Russell, beloved husband, father and grandfather, age 88, departed this life peacefully, surrounded by family, on January 31, 2019. Chester, son of Carl and Dorothy (Anderson) Russell was the oldest of 10 children, and was born July 29, 1930 at home, on a farm Northwest of Belleville, moving at age 1 to Courtland. He attended Park Hill School for eight years, and graduated from Courtland High School in 1948.
Chester was united in marriage to Mildred (Erickson) Russell on April 1, 1951. They were blessed with four children, Mark, Stephanie, Jon and Darin. Chester was a life-long farmer and rancher, farming with his brothers and for more than 5 decades with his brother Gene. He lived his entire life in the Courtland area, except for 2 years spent in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. During that time, 18 months were in Korea where he served as Postmaster Courier, earning the rank of master sergeant. Though his commanding officer tried to convince him to make a career in the army, he was ready to return home. After 18 months without seeing his wife and new-born son, God had answered his prayers and he was ready to return home to them and the farm, and other family and friends in Courtland. He served his country faithfully and celebrated that service (and his safe return) by gathering with his fellow Republic County “enlistees” every year, for what they would call “the G.I. Picnic and Sweetheart Supper.” This annual ritual has lasted throughout the years.
Chester saw that God was all around us, noticing God’s grace, power and beauty in nature and the weather – through farming and raising livestock. He worked long hours, and marveled at the sunrise and sunsets and the millions of stars in the summer sky. It was a joy for him to see the miracle of new life in a baby calf or to see a doe with twin fawns. He enjoyed a variety of indoor and outdoor sports, participating in football, basketball and track in high school, learning from a strict and dedicated coach, Raymond Stewart. After high school, he officiated basketball and later coached little-league baseball. He served on several boards: White Rock Township Trustee, Fair Board, Coop Board, Soil Conservation Board and enjoyed getting to know the people with whom he interacted. He was a member of the Courtland Methodist Church and the American Legion Auxiliary Post #193. He was a K-State fan and loved spending time with family, especially grandchildren and great grandchildren, attending their academic and sports activities, school programs and graduations. He enjoyed visiting with his brothers and sisters and their families and was very proud of all of them, as the oldest brother and uncle. Family “get-togethers” were common and a joy for Chester to be able to visit with family, including brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and their families on both sides of the family, as he followed their lives and activities with great interest as he did with his immediate family. He provided good life lessons and examples to his daughter and three sons and their families: and among them were his kindness, humor and humbleness.
His family will be forever influenced by his Christian example, quick wit and sense of humor.
Chester was preceeded in death by his parents, brother Jim Russell, and sister and brother-in-law Phyllis and Bill Mahin and brothers-in-law Ralph Sothers and Ron Sothers and niece Kaylene (Sothers) Clark. Also preceded in death by Sisters-in-law Lorine (and Clarence) Aspegren; Violet (and Irl) Amos; Elva (and Frank) Greenwood, and Ray Penn; Dorothy (and Ken) Tucker; and brothers-in-law Carl (and Blanche) Erickson; Hugo (and Gladys) Erickson; Leonard (and Delema) Erickson; Eldon (and Margo) Haney; Bryce (and Lois) Haney; Roy (and Shirley) Haney; Norman (and Otie) Erickson); Dale Erickson and niece Edie Erickson.
He leaves behind to mourn his passing: his wife of 67 years, Mildred (Erickson) Russell; son Mark (Paula) Russell, Courtland; daughter Stephanie (Shelby) Kuhlman, Salina; son Jon (Lisa) Russell, Courtland; and son Darin (Krista) Russell of Manhattan; Nine grandchildren: Stephen (Samantha) Russell, Garrett Russell; Natalie (Jade) Barta, Kyle (Katie) Kuhlman; Elizabeth (Blake) Lundgrin, Jordan Russell, Jaxon Russell, Ashleigh Russell; and Jared Russell; and seven great-grandchildren: Addison Green-Russell, Alena and Ransom Russell; Nyah, Dylan, and Karson Barta; Maxwell, Wade and Maci Kuhlman; and Kash Henderson; siblings: Gene (Joanne) Russell, Beverly Sothers of Courtland, Max (Kay) Russell of Wamego, Maxine (Jan) Fredrickson of Quinter, Ken (Mary) Russell of Abilene, Charles (June) Russell of Webber, and Penny (Don) True of Council Grove; sister-in-law Verlee Russell of Beloit; sister-in-law Eileen Erickson of Courtland; and many nieces, nephews and numerous other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, February 9, 2019 at the United Methodist Church, Courtland, KS with Pastor Sandra Jellison-Knock, officiating.
Interment will be at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, rural Courtland, KS with Military Graveside Rites by the Ft. Riley Honor Detail, Ft. Riley, KS.
Visitation will be from 1 PM until 5 PM on Thursday and 1 PM until 8 PM on Friday at the Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS with the family greeting friends from 6 PM-8PM on Friday.
Memorials are suggested to the Church, Scandia American Legion, or the Pike Valley Foundation.
Online condolences at www.bachelor-surber.com
Bachelor-Surber Funeral Home, Belleville, KS is in charge of the arrangements.