Russell Withers Jr.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Russell Withers Jr.

W. Russell Withers Jr., 77, of Mount Vernon, Ill., died Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Mount Vernon.

He was born Dec. 10, 1936, in Cape Girardeau, son of W.R. and Ruth H. Withers Sr.

Russell founded Withers Broadcasting Cos.

Survivors include a daughter, Dana R. Withers of Mount Vernon; a stepson, David Lister of Mount Vernon; two stepdaughters, Diana Lister of Nashville, Tenn., and Celeste Hunt of Beaufort, S.C.; a sister, Lindi W. Janes of Cape Girardeau; three brothers, Richard Kent Withers of Cape Girardeau, James K. Withers and wife Pam of Keokuk, Iowa, and William J. Withers and wife Victoria of Theodore, Ala.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Russell was a member of: Mount Vernon Masonic Lodge 31; Scottish Rites/Valley of Southern Illinois in Belleville; Jefferson County Shrine Club, Mount Vernon; Shrine International -- AINAD; AINAD Shrine Center, East St. Louis, Ill.; board member of Mount Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau; board member and a founder of Crimestoppers of Jefferson County; chairman of Mount Vernon Airport Authority; chairman of Illinois Public Airport Association; board member of Mount Vernon Industrial Development Commission; Mount Vernon Citizen of the Year in 1992.

Also National Association of Broadcasters; board member of the radio board representing Illinois; member of executive committee and co-chairman of National Association Broadcasters Political Action Committee (NABPAC); national trustee NABPAC for the past 20 years; NABPAC leading fund raiser and recipient of the Wally Jorgensen Award the past 11 years; member of Congressional Relations Committee; radio board chairman; National Association of Broadcasting; board member of Library of American Broadcasting; 2003 American Broadcast Pioneer Award winner by Broadcasters Foundation; board member of Associated Press Broadcast Board; board member of SAGA Communications since May 2011, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

Also member of Lincoln Academy of Illinois-Springfield, member of board of trustees since 1993, elected regent by the board in 1998; board member of Redlands Water and Power, Grand Junction, Colo.; executive board member of Boy Scouts of America for Western Colorado; Who's Who in Finance and Industry; Who's Who in America; Who's Who in Entertainment; Who's Who in the World; Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association in 2005; chairman of Illinois Broadcasters Foundation; Broadcaster of the Year by West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Heritage Award winner Jefferson County African-American Heritage Committee; board member, Radio Music License Committee.

He was Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Merit Award recipient in 2007; Sigma Chi fraternity distinguished Significant Sig Award in 2011; Honor of Order of Lincoln and Illinois' highest honor for professional accomplishments and public service.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. today at Hughey Funeral Home in Mount Vernon. Interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Vernon.

For those who wish, memorials may be given to the W. Russell Withers Jr. Scholarship Fund at Southern Illinois University. They will be accepted at the funeral home or may be mailed to Hughey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 721, Mount Vernon, IL 62864.

Friends may call the funeral home at 618-242-3348 or visit for more information and to send condolences.