Mr. John Ernest Russell AKA “Papa John” passed away Thursday, Aug. 9 at the age of 79.
He was known here on Orcas for his barbecued brisket and wine time at 5 p.m. He was always there to help what ever the project.
When he and mom arrived on the island everyone knew it by the tanker-size motorhome and the smell of barbecue.
John is survived by his wife, Jimmie, the love of his life for almost 60 years; children: John Russell, Jr. of Anchorage, AK Kim Wareham and husband Ian of Eastsound, Wash.; Julie Brophy and husband Jamey of Anchorage, AK Jim Russell and wife Cathi of Anchorage; eight grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
John was born Oct. 22, 1932, in San Antonio, Texas. On Oct. 4, 1952, he married Jimmie A. Sarran.
He spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force. His career included receiving several service awards and serving in numerous foreign destinations that included Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and England. Moving to Alaska was always a dream and when offered the opportunity to move to Alaska, he extended his military career, moving to Fairbanks and then Anchorage, spending 15 years in Alaska.
A devoted father, one of his greatest joys was spending time hunting and fishing with his sons and son-in-laws, wood working, and doing honey-do lists for his two girls.
Every summer they traveled to Washington and Alaska in their motor home to spend time with their children and grandchildren.
Memorial contributions in his name can be made to the hospice organization of your choice.