Lee Russell left this life for a new adventure on Friday, May 21, 2021. Before his departure, Lee forged a 78-year trail of laughter, generosity, compassion, and wisdom. Being that he was a collector, it is safe to say he took all of the love and joy he found from all of the people in his life with him. Lee delighted in finding treasure and we are all better for him having found us. He lived his life wanting to give; whether it be a hug, a record album, books, muffins, advice, opinion, or direction. We have all been fortunate recipients in some way to what he so wholeheartedly gave.
He was born in Cleveland,Ohio,December 6, 1942. “A day earlier and a year later than Pearl Harbor”, he would tell you. He was the second son of Howard “Bud” and Mary Russell. With a large family of six siblings, Lee understood early on the importance of family and took care of all of them.
Lee served his time in The Vietnam War as a member of The United States Air Force. Stationed in Cam Ranh Bay, he was technically a mechanic but he quickly became a swift and deft “negotiator”, always knowing how to commandeer ice cream for the troops. When he returned home he worked as a milkman; his future bride on his route. Lee eventually secured his most favored occupation and became a bus driver and dispatcher for the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority(RTA).
Lee married the love of his life, Christine, on November 9, 1968. She preceded him in death, no doubt to make sure everything was in order for his arrival. Lee and Christine raised a family together in their Lakewood home where they filled it with acceptance, loyalty, empathy, conviction, and most importantly, unconditional love.
Lee loved a challenging conversation, a witty(and sometimes naughty) joke, and a good meal. He fancied himself a shutterbug and created some phenomenal memories with his work. Cooking brought him so much joy. It was the perfect storm: researching a recipe, purchasing ingredients, preparing the food, and ultimately giving it away. He was dubbed “The Lakewood Bandit” as one would never know when a stealth delivery of riches would appear in their driveway. A lover of animals(especially cats), Lee would never turn away the opportunity to rescue. He adored the beach life; whether it was Lakeside, Ohio, Charleston, South Carolina with his true love, or Naples, Florida. Lee was not a fan of intolerance, injustice, and “snotty” eggs.
Later in life, Lee found passion in the Unity Spiritual Center. The timing of this proved to be quite propitious. He prided himself in the family he discovered there. Unity provided him new opportunities to contribute to others. He savored the community and the company he experienced there.
Lee is preceded in death by his parents, Howard (Bud) Russell, Mary(nee Mansell), brothers Paul and James(Linda), sister Helen “Bella” Andrews, and his beloved wife Christine(nee Hanzl). Lee’s spirit lives on with his children Sarah(Eric Teets), Jessica “Jae”(Jacqueline Reasor), Stephen, and grandsons Owen and Sean.He will continue to watch over his sister Marie Lipka, and brothers John(Dianne), and Jude. He was a presence as a brother-in-law, uncle, godfather, cousin, neighbor and friend; forever providing a light in their lives.
Those that had the pleasure of knowing Lee had the opportunity to experience a life unlike any other. He searched, he collected, he savored, he gave. Let it be.
A Memorial Service will be held at Lee’s home away from home, Unity Spiritual Center, 23855 Detroit Rd, Westlake, Ohio on Saturday June 12th at 11:00 am. Please be sensitive to any COVID-19 restrictions that may be put into place by the Unity Spiritual Center. For those who are not able to attend in person, a virtual viewing of the service will be available on the Unity Spiritual Center YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/user/UnityWestlakeVideos
In lieu of flowers or gifts please consider making a contribution to the Lee G Russell Memorial Fund. https://everloved.com/life-of/lee-russell/donate/?flow=204