Obituary for James Russell
James (Jim) L. Russell, 78, a lifelong Missourian, passed from this life on March 21, 2017, surrounded by family.
Jim was born on September 13, 1938, to John and Beatrice (Hoshor) Russell in Savannah, Missouri and was delivered by his maternal grandfather, Dr. John Hoshor. He was united in marriage to Mary Rhodes Russell on November 25, 1995.
Jim was raised on a farm near Savannah, Missouri. He graduated from Savannah High School and earned a B.S. Degree from the University of Missouri Columbia in 1960 and a Master's Degree in 1967. In college, Jim was a member of FarmHouse and received the Block and Bridle Club's Outstanding Senior Award for the College of Agriculture.
After graduation, he returned home to operate a family grain and livestock farm, and later owned R & T Implement Company in Savannah, Missouri.
For almost 30 years, Jim was frequently seen in the hallways of the State Capitol, elected to the Missouri House in 1974. He represented Andrew, Atchison, Holt and Nodaway Counties from 1974-1982, and served as Chairman of the House Commerce Committee. Jim earned the Meritorious Service Award from the St. Louis Globe Democrat and the Top Ten Legislators Award from the Capitol Press Corp, as an outstanding legislator during his four terms. After leaving the legislature, he became President of Missouri Agribusiness Association, a trade organization of agribusinesses. He held that position for 25 years. He also represented the interests of various businesses and organizations in the legislature.
As President of Missouri Agribusiness, he blazed a wide path in Missouri's agricultural industry and had a long career of service and leadership. He was given the title of "Champion of Agriculture," and was very involved with numerous fundraising events for his alma mater and the mentoring of many young people.
He was a member of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Foundation, as Trustee and Past-President, Rotary Club of Jefferson City, Monticello Society, Missouri 4-H Foundation Board, Grace Episcopal Church, Masonic Lodge, Grand Lodge of Missouri A.F. & A.M., and Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of St. Joseph.
He was awarded the Missouri State Senate - Peter Myers Distinguished Service Award, CAFNR Citation of Merit Award, CAFNR Alumnus of the Year Award, CAFNR Frederick B. Mumford Distinguished Service Award, MUAA Faculty Alumni Award, Jerry Litton Memorial Award, Ag Leader of the Year from MO-Ag Industries, Ag Leader of the Year from Agricultural Leadership of Tomorrow, and the Agribusiness Leader of the Year- St. Louis Agribusiness Club.
Jim was well-known for the best smoked, dry rub ribs in Missouri! His hobbies included cooking, fishing, golfing and gardening, as well as his ability to balance five spoons on his face at one time! Jim brought smiles to many with his witty humor and generosity.
He is lovingly survived by: his wife, Mary Rhodes Russell; three children, Kimberly (Kevin) Stanley, Jamie Kafer, and Matthew (Shawnda) Russell; a sister, Bridget Ash, of Encinitas, California; and a brother, Frank (Betty) Russell of Salina, Kansas; four grandsons, Kirk Pittman of St. Joseph, Nicholas Stanley of Kansas City, Dalton (Taylor) Russell of Savannah, and Dylan Russell of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and two granddaughters, Kinsley (Ben) Pister of Basehor, Kansas, and Alexandria (Caleb) Jergensen of Belton; two honorary grandchildren, Avery and Evan Todd of Webster Groves; two great-grandchildren, Ilef and Piper Pister of Basehor, Kansas; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, John Russell and William Russell.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 25, 2017 at Grace Episcopal Church, 217 Adams Street, Jefferson City, Mo. with the Reverend Harvel Sanders and the Reverend Bill Nesbit officiating. Private entombment will be held in the Columbarium of Riverview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to a scholarship fund established in his name by sending them to The Jim Russell Foundation, c/o Missouri Agribusiness Association, at P.O. Box 1728, Jefferson City, MO 65102, as helping young people with their education was very important to him.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.