Robert E. Russell of Leawood, Kansas passed into heaven on March 14, 2022. Bob was born on January 31, 1931 in Salina, Kansas to Chester E. and Margaret A. Russell. He grew up in several communities in Kansas and graduated from Abilene High School in 1949. Bob starred on the varsity baseball and basketball teams for the Cowboys and was chosen by his teammates as the captain of the basketball team in his senior year. That year, the local newspaper remarked, “Russell is not a court flash, in the glamorous sense… But would gain any coach’s vote as ‘The boy we’d most like to have when the pressure’s on.’”
Bob started college following graduation from high school but his journey towards his bachelor’s degree was interrupted by four years of service in the US Navy. He completed a tour in the South Pacific on the USS Renville in 1954-1955.
After his years in the service Bob earned a BS in business and education from Emporia State University in 1957. He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He then earned his MS degree in business from Emporia State in 1959. While working on his degrees he met and married Marian E. Baier of Salina, Kansas. The two celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren on August 18, 2021.
Bob made his career in education. His first teaching job was at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to teaching business courses, he coached basketball and baseball. Bob loved sports. He was a lifetime fan of the Detroit Tigers and became a big fan of the University of Kansas basketball team in his later years.
After completing some additional study in the area of finance at Stanford University, Bob accepted a position as Dean of Instruction and head basketball coach at Midwest Institute in Eureka, Kansas. Bob worked with the “Babos” for three years then journeyed on to become the Chair of the Department of Business and Education at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Bob earned tenure at St. Mary in 1974 and was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus upon his retirement. Bob’s passion was sharing his time and his talent with his students so they could enjoy success.
Following retirement Bob channeled his competitive spirit into the game of golf. He could often be found on a golf course or a driving range by himself, constantly working to get better. His love for the game was passed onto his grandsons, whom he charged $0.25 per lesson.
Bob Russell will be remembered as a kind and compassionate teacher, friend, husband, father, and grandfather. He had a great sense of humor and the humility to laugh at himself, readily accepting the perfection of the nickname “Tweety” given to him by his colleagues at Washington High School.
Bob loved being a dad to Darcy Russell and Denise Russell Trowbridge. To his daughters he was protector, advisor, and chief encourager. Both his daughters earned their doctorates, because their dad was cheering them forward through all the challenging years of study. Bob loved being a grandfather to RJ Trowbridge and Zack Trowbridge. To his grandsons he was coach, teacher, advisor, and confidant. Bob loved watching them play sports with their friends. He loved analyzing the basketball game or the round of golf with them and he was the first to celebrate their wins with a big smile. He also found joy in watching them grow into their careers.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Marian, his daughters, Darcy and Denise, Denise’s husband Scott Trowbridge and their sons RJ and Zack, as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Marjorie Russell McAdams.
Funeral will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd at 1:30pm at Church of the Resurrection, Wesley Chapel, 13720 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66224. A visitation will be held prior from 1-130. Burial at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Baker University, 618 8th St, Baldwin City, KS 66006.