Happy Birthday William G. Russell!

A loving remembrance

10/9/2014, 3:28 p.m.
A man who believed in work and taking care of his family
Wilbert G. Russell is being remembered on what would have been his 83 birthday.

Wilbert G. Russell was born Oct. 8, 1931 in Painesville, Ohio to Wilbert J. Russell and Clara Louise Russell, and died June 2, 2014 in Portland.

He was the proud and dedicated father of GeorgeAnn Russell Varnedoe, DeRon McCoy, Gregory Talton, Rickey, Janet and Tony Russell and Anthony Sparrow.

A man who believed in work and taking care of his family, he was known for holding two jobs at the same time. He was retired as a military fire chief with honors from a 26 year (1950-1976) career with the United States Air Force. Following with his last government job, he inspected embassies and consulates as a fire marshal.

Staying true to his commitment to protecting those who cannot protect themselves, he continued his career after retirement with the Office of State Fire Marshal and received a master’s degree from City College. He was the first African American president of the Fire Marshals Association. He also recently held the position of AARP Portland Chapter President.

He lived with his family in various places around the world, including Japan (Yokota, Hakata, and Itazuke), Southeast Asia and the Alaskan frontier. He also loved Jazz and to travel, visiting friends and relatives. He was a passionate Bridge card player, playing weekly.

He was loved by his wife of 56 years, Jean Russell and current wife Lula Russell. He will be missed by his children and grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, sister Marian Louise Laisure and son DeRon McCoy.

He was a quiet man and showed great responsibility for his work, making lifelong friends, wherever he went. He is an unsung hero, every day making our lives a little easier, a little happier, and a lot safer.

--From your Portland family