NEWTON FALLS, NY — Lowell Franklin Russell (Rusty), 88, Newton Falls, NY passed away on April 11, 2022, a few days shy of his 89th birthday.
Rusty was born on April 14, 1933, to Violetta Burbage Russell in Wilmington, Delaware. He graduated from PS DuPont High School in 1950. After graduation, Rusty started a music career as Hank Russell, The Blue Ranger at WAMS Radio Station in Wilmington. His music career was interrupted when he was drafted into the US Army in 1953 during the Korean War. His tour ended in 1955.
After returning from the Korean War, Rusty worked in various sales positions including at The Chamber of Commerce, Family Finance, Westinghouse, PEP Boys, and the Newton Falls Paper Mill. Later in his career, Rusty reprised his radio personality, The Blue Ranger as a DJ on the WNCQ “Big Q” Country Music station and at local events. His years there were some of his happiest. He enjoyed entertaining, playing his guitar and singing.
Rusty’s passion for collecting Lionel Trains, began as a child. As a toy train enthusiast, Rusty built elaborate train layouts to run his trains in his home. He shared information and advice, and attended “train meets” when he was able. He shared his love of musicals and old movies with friends, family, and the community. Years ago, Rusty would host a “Neighborhood Movie Day” where he would set up and show his reel-to-reel movies in a room below the little store in Newton Falls. Even into his later years, Rusty was incredibly tech-savvy, with a passion for sharing music and historical information with the world. He learned to write html code in his 60’s and ran a sought-after and incredibly detailed webpage for years, followed by a Facebook page with daily updates. Rusty was a proud member of the American Legion Mervin Eno Post 1539 for many years – attending meetings, events and taking part in military ceremonies.
Rusty was married to Diane Hodge Russell in 1964 in Atlantic City, Maryland. She predeceased him on December 18, 2008. They had four children John Russell (Nancy), Julia Kelley (Chris), Jennifer-Anne Leckrone (Jeff), and Jodi Viau (Jeff). A daughter from a former marriage, Maxine, predeceased him. Rusty was blessed with his many beloved grandchildren Karine Meade (Terence), Matthew Russell (Courtney), Dylan Kelley, Devan Kelley (Tia), Ryan Viau, and Regan Viau. He had a very special place in his heart for his great-grandchildren Owen and Elliott Meade, his life-long friend, June Knotts, and his cat Sally. He signed off every phone conversation with his loved ones with ~ “Love you, bye! Love you, bye! Love you, bye!”
His beloved mother, grandmother and brother, Lloyd Byron Russell, predeceased Rusty. Many nephews and nieces survive him.
Memorial donations can be made to the Star Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad.
Services will be held privately by the family. Arrangements are with the Lundy Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Inc., 500 State St., Carthage, NY 13619.
Online condolences may be made at www.lundyfuneralhome.com