Gene Russell, beloved husband, father and grandfather, age 84, departed this life peacefully, surrounded by his family, on June 7, 2020. Gene, son of Carl and Dorothy (Anderson) Russell, the fourth in line of 10 children, was born July 27, 1935, at the family farmstead northeast of Courtland. He attended Park Hill School, and graduated from Courtland High School in 1953. Gene was united in marriage to Joanne (Bengtson) Russell on December 27, 1967, in Lindsborg. They were blessed with two children, Barbara and Jay. Gene was a life-long farmer and rancher, farming with his brothers, son and nephews. This included more than five decades with his brother Chester. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army from 1953 – 1955, being stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He returned from the army, and briefly attended Fort Hays State University, before returning to Courtland to spend the remainder of his life.
A friendly and ornery soul, Gene loved a good conversation. He thoroughly enjoyed family gatherings of any type where he could talk with his kids, grandkids, brothers, sisters and other family. He would spend all day at the Russell Family get-together every year, soaking in his family discussions. Gene didn’t know a stranger, and would talk to other farmers at the sale barn, or befriend someone he didn’t even know, to talk about farming. In later years, he enjoyed his morning drive around the countryside, checking in on things, and people became familiar with his white pickup as a constant at those times of day. He and Joanne raised their family going to the Ada Lutheran Church, rural Courtland. He loved his wife, and was very proud of his kids and grandkids.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Chester and Jim Russell, sister and brother-in-law Phyllis and Bill Mahin, brothers-in-law Ralph Sothers and Ron Sothers, and niece Kayleen (Sothers) Clark. He is also preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Linus and Ragnhild Bengtson, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Norman and Ingrid Bengtson, nephew Doug Bengtson, and son-in-law Gil Gregg.
He leaves behind to mourn his passing his wife of 52 years, Joanne (Bengtson) Russell, daughter Barbara Nebbeling and her husband Dirk of Dodge City, son Jay Russell and his wife Jenny of Courtland; six grandchildren Emma Keeten (Caleb), Olivia Gregg, Allison Gregg, Betsy Gregg, Owen Russell and Alyssa Russell. Gene is also survived by his brothers and sisters; Beverly Sothers of Courtland, Max Russell and his wife Kay of Wamego, Maxine Fredrickson and her husband Jan of Quinter, Ken Russell and his wife Mary of Abilene, Charles Russell and his wife June of Nelson, Nebraska, Penny True and her husband Don of Council Grove, sister-in-law Mildred Russell of Courtland, sister-in-law Verlee Russell of Beloit, brother-in-law Gordon Bengtson of Lindsborg, sister-in-law Kathryn Fellman and her husband Steve of Mohnton, Pennslyvania, many nieces and nephews, and numerous other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be held at Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home on Thursday, June 25th, 2020, from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, with family greeting friends from 5:00pm – 7:00 pm. Memorial Services will be held at the Ada Lutheran Church, rural Courtland, on Friday, June 26th, 2020, at 3:00 pm, with Mary Lou Anderson, PMA, officiating. Committal services with Military Honors will follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, rural Courtland.
Memorials are requested to Solomon Valley Hospice or the Pike Valley Foundation, and may be sent in care of the funeral home.
Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home of Belleville assisted the Russell family with these arrangements, www.tibbettsfischerfuneralhome.com
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Solomon Valley Hospice
Pike Valley Foundation
Swedish American Bank - Courtland, KS,