As the still of the night began to set in, the Lord looked down and called out the name Donald Larry Russell come unto me. Don answered quickly and peacefully leaving his earthly life behind. Don has been a dialysis patient for over 10 years and was known as the “candy man” at the dialysis center. He has fought so hard to live, he has put up a good fight never doubting his faith in the Lord. When being cared for by his sisters, they were often heard singing “will the circle be unbroken” and “in the sweet by and by”.
In the year of 1962, Don was baptized by the Reverend Ellis Patterson from Community Baptist Church. Don had made all the preparations needed to ensure his eternal home. As a gifted mechanic, Don worked for Jack Gassaway and then Lambert’s Automotive. His first job being with a Park sign company working alongside his brother Franklin “Bubby”.
Don was born June 26th, 1945, in Oliver Springs to his parents Roxie Vann Russell and Dexter Russell. He lived all of his life in the East Tn. area including Oliver Springs, Laurel Grove, and later Oak Ridge.
Don was one of eight children gathering at his parent’s home on Sunday for dinner where you could hear his wife Patricia playing the piano. Don attended Reed School but never advanced in education. He enjoyed watching Western movies, being an outdoorsman, he enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, shooting matches, and going to races in Wartburg to cheer on Leroy Vann, Charlie Jackson, and Jim Brummitt. Above all, he was an avid UT sports fan. In his younger years, you would find him polishing up his ‘57 Chevy heading to the Carefree Drive-In Theater.
On Friday night as the angels begin to sing, he was greeted at the gates of heaven by his loving wife of over 40 years Patricia Russell. His Mother and Daddy, Roxie and Dexter Russell, brother Franklin “Bubby” Simpson, brother-in-law Ray Byrge, Mother and Father-in-laws Dewey and Irene Braden, and Aunt Gertrude Harness. Left to cherish his memory is his beloved granddaughter, Faith Russell. They shared a special love as he enjoyed her many phone calls saying, “Pa Pa Pa Paw I love you”. His son and daughter-in-law Shawn Russell and wife Pamela Russell of Knoxville and daughter Donella Russell of Oak Ridge as well as his beloved dog Sunshine, who was always waiting for the ambulance to bring him home. Brother Larky Russell (Chris), Sisters Patsy Lively, Kathy Byrge, Shirley Tinker (Hayes), Debbie Bunch (Doug), Tammy Peters (Joe), and Sister and Brothers-in-law Minnie and Rev. Tom Byrge. Several nieces and nephews along with cousins. Special friends Cleo Smith, Jack Gassaway, Junior Morgan, J.D. and Reba Dillon, Sally Tinker and family, Rickey Long and Sandy and Stan Burney.
We would like to thank Dr. Gary Wells and Dr. Ann Carter and the staff at MMC for the care they provided, as well as the ambulance attendants and Rick and Belinda “Rocky Top”, with ETHRA transport.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, from 5-7 PM at Premier Sharp Funeral Home. A service at 7 PM will follow with Pastor Robbie Leach officiation. A graveside service will be held on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 11 AM at Laurel Grove Cemetery.
Premier Sharp Funeral Home is honored to serve the Russell family.