John R. Russell, age 80, passed away on June 16, 2023, in Newtown, OH, his longtime home. Born October 31, 1942 to the late John Blackburn and Alice (nee Johnson) Russell. Loving husband of Sandra (nee Sloan) Russell. Beloved father of USAF Retired Colonel John Turpin (Marschell) Russell, Dr. Christopher Scott (Jennifer) Russell, David Patrick (Renee) Russell, Adam Edward (Mary Beth) Russell, Lauren (nee Russell) Shteiwi (the late Jamal), and the late Luke Andrew (living Ellen Genger) Russell. Cherished grandfather of Jakob, Morgan, Ryan (Gracie), Natalie (Joshua), Cecilia, Halcyon, Matthew, Claire, Alice, Emily, Haddie, Mary Kate, William, Maya, Eliza, and Juliet. Brother of the late Annamaja Russell Pampalone, and uncle to three nephews.
John was a phenomenal soulmate to Sandy for fifty-eight years. Together, Sandy and John became parents to six children. An extraordinary father and role model, John was in all ways the patriarch of the family, who with patience and grace taught his children to respect others, to embrace and learn from life, and to pursue excellence with integrity. John had an unequaled and quiet presence that was a perfect balance of strength and gentleness. As a husband, a father, and a grandfather, John cherished and loved his family fiercely through all seasons of life. From epic road trips with small children to European getaways with Sandra, John loved to travel. Later in life, John reveled in being a grandfather and indulged in quiet evenings with his sweetheart - playing games, reading, and enjoying every moment of their life together.
John actively demonstrated the virtue of commitment and inspired the people around him to grow. Confident and calm, John quietly but frequently assumed the mantle of leadership, teaching all around him the importance of doing something to make their world better. After graduating from Western Hills High School, John attended the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Arts and Planning and graduated as an architect. While attending UC, John became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and remained an active member for over 60 years - a legacy that was awarded with the Order of Constantine in 2001.
John believed strongly in contributing to his community. Since 1975, John was actively involved in the Village of Newtown, OH. As a member of the planning commission, councilman, Vice Mayor and then Mayor for two terms from 1980 to 1988, John’s visionary leadership fostered a comprehensive plan developing and creating today's Newtown. John remained a member of the planning commission until his death.
An ambitious businessman of integrity and ethics, John joined Tom Cole, a like-minded man, founding Cole and Russell Architects (who now do business as CR Architecture + Design) in October of 1982. The young firm began its practice in a summer kitchen on Cole’s farm in Batavia, OH; ever expanding, John became CEO of a 100-person firm on Pete Rose Way in Cincinnati. The firm's designs can be seen around greater Cincinnati and around the country. Their projects involve nationally recognized designs of firehouses, K-12 schools, stores, and hotels for companies including Kroger, Walgreen’s, and Marriot. John promoted the growth of architecture by taking leadership roles with the local American Institute for Architects and the Advisory Council at the Montana State University College of Architecture.
Many men desire to leave a legacy. We all fantasize about leaving our mark on the world. There are those who do it in a loud way or inspire with a single aspect of their life such as their vocation or a special skill. It is rare to find someone who is adept across the full spectrum of leadership. John Russell has left that type of legacy through consistent and persistent dedication to his family, his community, and his company. Yes, character does matter, and those who knew him had the privilege of seeing it lived out in John Russell.
Visitation will take place Thursday, June 22, 2023, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at Moore Family Funeral Homes, 6708 Main St. Newtown, OH 45244. Parking is available at the funeral home or on any side roads behind the funeral home.
Funeral service will follow the next day, Friday, June 23, 2023, at 9:00am, at Horizon Community Church, 3950 Newtown Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45244. Final interment will take place at Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45232.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in John's memory to the American Heart Association.