Russell was born
July 3, 1924 in Salem, Iowa to Lawrence and Sarabelle
Weaver Sams both of whom were ordained Quaker pastors.
Russell moved with his parents to several communities
throughout Iowa during his formative years, including
Liberty, New Sharon, and Arnolds Park.
Russell graduated from
High School from Arnolds Park in 1942. Shortly after
graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and
was trained as a B-17 gunner and later as an aircraft
radial engine mechanic. Russell went on to serve as
an aircraft mechanic in Guam from 1944 through 1945.
in the service, Russell became engaged to Mildred Alberta
Bundy, his high school sweetheart. Shortly after Russell
received his honorable discharge of serving his country,
on February 8, 1946, he was married to Mildred Bundy
at the Friends Church in Arnolds Park, with the Reverend
Lawrence Sams officiating.
and Mildred have 2 sons and 1 daughter; 3 grandchildren.
The couple lived in
Oskaloosa while Russ attended Wm. Penn College where
he received his BS degree in Chemistry in 1949. Russell
attended seminary school at the Drake University Seminary
in Des Moines and completed his studies there in 1950.
From 1950 to 1954, Russell served as Pastor to the Oak
Grove Friends church.
In order to better support
his growing family, Russell joined Donaldson Company
in 1952 and worked his way up from laborer to plant
superintendent by 1966. Russell went on to serve as
plant manager at the Cresco, Kirksville, and Grinnell
facilities before he retired from Donaldson Company
During the winter months
Russ and Mildred enjoyed warm weather and fellowship
with friends at their home in Mesa. Family, church and
community service were very important to Russell.
He enjoyed golf and
the friendships that he earned in professional and community
activities. Russ achieved the level of 3rd degree Mason.
was a community leader during his professional career.
Russell was president of the Kiwanis organization, served
on the Grinnell Federal bank board, was Chairman of
the Grinnell Regional Hospital board, was active in
the Ambassadors of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce
and was president of the United Way organization in
Grinnell and Kirksville, MO.