Joseph Russell

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Joseph Jamison Russell, 83, of Cape Girardeau died Thursday, Sept. 7, 2006, at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

He was born Aug. 3, 1923, at Charleston, Mo., son of William Clark and Audrey Cecil Jamison Russell. He and Hertha Clithero were married June 25, 1950, at Columbia, Mo.

Survivors include his wife, Hertha Russell; two sons, Dr. John Russell and wife Susan of Cape Girardeau, Joseph Kensey Russell and wife Mary of Columbia; a daughter, Carol Anne Eighmey and husband Rex of Jefferson City, Mo.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers and sisters.

Cape Girardeau was home for Joe from the time he was a little boy. He attended "training school" and high school at Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, singing in school plays and playing the violin.

Joe then joined thousands of his generation serving in the United States Army during World War II. Trained in the infantry, he became a firefighter, protecting the vital gasoline pipelines supplying the Allied Forces in France.

Serving from Aug. 7, 1943, to honorably discharged Feb. 9, 1946, Joe attended and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University. He earned his LL.B. degree from the University of Missouri Law School in 1949, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.

More importantly, while there, he met Hertha Ellen Clithero, his true love and life partner for 56 years. Upon graduation, Mr. Russell joined Mr. Rush Limbaugh Sr. in the practice of law in Cape Girardeau, becoming a partner in the firm first known as Limbaugh, Limbaugh and Russell.

Though his 57-year law career was a general practice and served many clients needs, the lawyer known to many as "J.J." developed a specialty in school law and served as legal counsel for numerous school boards throughout Southeast Missouri. In recent years he served as legal counsel for Southeast University.

Joe believed in giving to his profession, and was a member of the Missouri Bar Association, School Boards Association, American Bar Association, National Lawyers Association, Christian Legal Society, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Though a humble man, he occasionally impressed friends and family by showing a card indicating he had been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

Much of Joe's "leisure time" was spent on church and Boy Scouts. He served in many ways while a member of First Baptist Church, including Sunday school director, deacon, teacher of young adults, choir member and chairman of the building committee when the church built its educational building.

In recent years as a member of Lynwood Baptist Church, he was chairman of the board of deacons, choir member and co-teacher of a men's Bible study class.

All who knew Joe knew of his love for Boy Scouts. He joined Troop 4 as an 11-year-old in April 1934, and thereafter maintained uninterrupted registration as an active member of Boy Scouts of America for 72 years, holding numerous volunteer positions.

As Scoutmaster of Troop 10, he proudly watched many boys achieve their Eagle rank. In 1987 he received the Association of Baptists for Scouting Silver Good Shepherd Award for distinguished service to youth. Joe served on the staff of the World Jamboree in Korea in 1991, and as course leader and staff member for several Woodbadge courses, a leadership training program for adults.

Through his Scouting participation, Joe was honored with numerous recognitions and awards, including Silver Beaver, Scouters Award, and the national Whitney M. Young Award. He served as executive board member for the SEMO Council and until his death was a board member for the Greater St. Louis Council.

Since 2000 he has chaired the annual Eagle Scout Court of Honor held in Cape Girardeau to recognize boys throughout Southeast Missouri who earned their Eagle award that year.

Though church and Scouts consumed most of his free time, Joe also was a life member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, was first president and charter member of Breakfast Optimist Club, a member of Optimist International, a member of Gideons International, and a board member of Missouri Ambulance Association.

His family and friends will miss him greatly, but cherish their memories of Joe Russell, who lived each day of his 83 years according to his favorite Bible verse, "Éto do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God."

Friends may call at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home from 4 to 8 p.m. today.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lynwood Baptist Church, with the Rev. Gary Belcher officiating. Burial will be in Cape County Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to greater St. Louis Area Boy Scout Council or Lynwood Baptist Church.