Donald E. Russell

May 20, 1934 - September 2, 2013
Donald E. Russell

Donald E. Russell, Sr., 79, passed away at his home surrounded by his family on Monday, September 2, 2103.

Don is survived by his loving wife Elizabeth. They were married for 53 years.

He is lovingly remembered by sons -Donnie & wife Kathy of Greensboro, Michael & wife Marci of Cary, and Bryan & wife Angie of Wilmington; grandchildren Jessica, Jennifer, Matthew, Mia and Reece; and brother Jack of Hatfield, Massachusetts.

Don was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on May 20, 1934, the son of the late Howard and Dorothy Russell. He served in the Army as a Specialist based at Fort Bragg. After his service, he worked as an auto mechanic before being hired as a maintenance mechanic for General Electric in Wilmington. He retired in 1994 after 25 years of employment with GE.

Working with tools was not just his trade, it was his passion. He spent a large amount of his free time tinkering, repairing, and building. There was always a project underway at the Russell home, be it automobile restoration, home improvement, woodworking or some other craft. His other love was the water – being near it, on it or in it. He enjoyed boating and fishing, a love he shared and passed on to his sons.

The family will receive friends during a celebrating Don’s life on Sunday, September 22 from 4:00-8:00 at the clubhouse at Inlet Watch Yacht Club, 801 Paoli Court, Wilmington, NC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter (http://www.hospiceandlifecarecenter.org/), 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401 or The Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research (http://www.jimmyv.org/), 106 Towerview Court, Cary, NC 27513.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “guest book” tab above.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099


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  • September 05, 2013
    Reece, Bryan & Angie Russell says:
    Papa, Noone will ever replace the special bond we have. I couldnt have asked for a better Grandpa & Father. You will be missed but never forgotten! We love you, sleep in peace until we meet again.

  • September 08, 2013
    Ed DeMarco says:
    Liz & family, Don was a calming influence on our HOA business. He did not like to rush to judgment until all was researched. I enjoyed working with him on the Board. Ed & Betsy

  • September 05, 2013
    Phyllis Sloan says:
    Liz, It's been a long time. But, I can remember exquisite wood work by Don. Thought and Prayers are with you and family with this very difficult time. Phyllis Sloan Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

  • September 08, 2013
    Ray Dawson says:
    Donald was a very happy go lucky guy and love his family very much and he will be missed by all

  • September 10, 2013
    Jimmy & Vicki and family says:
    What a wonderful man! Jimmy will tell you he was scared of Uncle Don as a kid. He must have been a drill sergeant. He raised three great sons. But by the time I met Don he had aged and mellowed, I guess. All I ever knew was sweetness. He would be embarrassed maybe to hear that. :) Twelve years ago, Great Uncle Don helped Steele with his 8th grade math project, building a playhouse. He pulled off an A plus with the cutest pink Victorian playhouse with the beautiful door that must have cost him sleep at night. It still stands today serving as a storage building and I think of Don every time I open that door. Don gave us a great stool for out toddlers he had made with a wood puzzle nestled in its top. Of course, the puzzle was a boat in the water. Though the boys have lost some of its pieces, that stool has filled a need for me the past few weeks. I know I left out things like the doll cradle and the doll cradle repairs. He had to wonder, "How many times am I gonna have to make this thing?" I wondered if Laine was trying to sleep in it herself. He never complained once. Don and Liz could do anything together, I think. I never knew which one had the magic hand, but they repaired our stain glass door! Amazing talents! Don, you stay on our minds often and you will forever be in our hearts. Liz & family, we are in prayer for you all. We know he is missed. All our love, Jimmy, Vicki, Kaylan, Steele, Laine, Kyle, Jackson & Isaac