Roger Lee Russell lost his valiant battle with cancer on April 28, 2018. A visitation will be held from 11 a.m. Wednesday until the service at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Hammond.
Roger was born June 5, 1939, in Akron, Ohio to Berry Martin Russell and Helen Marie Hancock Russell.
Following his parents divorce in 1940, Roger divided his time between Akron and Oloh, Mississippi, spending hours picking cotton and working on his grandfather's farm. In 1956, he graduated from Sumrall High School, where he was a tight end on the football team. He met Nancy Nelson, the love of his life, while both worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. After a short courtship, they married in Weston, Ohio, on Aug. 4, 1957. He served the U.S. Army as a military policeman, stationed at Fort Hood, before returning to Weston in 1962.
Roger worked for a short time in Chateau Rouge, France, where he developed a love for the French language and people.
Roger was in customer service management with United Parcel Service when it was a small, regional company. In 1970, he was transferred to New Orleans to establish the company's operations in Louisiana. During his UPS career, he was assigned executive posts for UPS at the regional office in Dallas and the national headquarters in Greenwich, Ct. After retirement from UPS, he and Nancy returned to New Orleans, and opened Gulf State Business Systems in Metairie and Creole Candles in the French Quarter before finally retiring to Waveland, Miss. When Hurricane Katrina swept away everything they owned in 2005, they settled in Hammond, La. He and Nancy also spent a great deal of time at their vacation home in Ruidoso, NM.
In 1984, Roger was honored as king of his Mardi Gras krewe. Serving as Caesar V was one of his great joys .
He also volunteered for North Oaks Medical Center, where he was known for his hugs and devilish sense of humor. He loved his "job" and the North Oaks family dearly.
Roger was immensely proud of his family and enjoyed sharing stories and anecdotes from his past, including how he once scored a hole-in-one as a weekend golfer. He loved family get-togethers and looked forward to the Russells’ annual Christmas Eve tradition of making potato candy. For those dearest to him, he had special nicknames, including "Sarge" for Nancy. An avid football fan, he spent fall weekends cheering for the Saints, LSU and the Ole Miss Rebels. He was strong-willed, bold about expressing his opinion, generous, fiercely loyal and sentimental beyond compare. He never met a stranger and welcomed all into his circle of love, and even included them in his many emails and Facebook posts. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the example he set for his family. Roger was a devoted husband to Nancy for 61 years and a loving father and grandfather.
In addition to his beloved wife, Roger is survived by daughter, Nanette Russell White (Cordell), Ponchatoula; son, Rodd Russell (Cathy), Covington; sister, Shirley Russell Roebuck, Wadsworth, Ohio; sisters-in-law, Nadine Nelson Taylor, Northwood, Ohio, and Ruth Russell, Conway, S.C.; grandchildren, Amanda Russell White Hodgins (Scott), Irving, Texas, Ashton White Guidry (Matthew), New Orleans, Brittany Browning Maharaj (Von), Allen, Texas, Tyler Browning (fiancee, Amanda), Aubrey, Texas, and Emily (George) Phillips, Seattle; great-grandchildren, Kayleigh and Landon Browning, Emery and Paxton Maharaj, Hull Sigmond Hodgins and Jackson and Barron Phillips; numerous special nieces and nephews; fur baby, Nola; and many dear friends. He was predeceased by his parents; brother, Dr. Roy "Bud" Russell; youngest daughter, Natalie, who he affectionately called "Hoot"; and stepfather, Clyde Osborne.
The family wishes to thank Drs. Arvind Yertha, Jherie Ducombs and Charles Ducombs, as well as the staff of North Oaks Hospice and Richard Murphy Hospice House for their devotion and care. Memorials may be made to either of those agencies or the North Oaks Foundation.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend visitation on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church of Hammond from 11:00 am until the Funeral Service at 1:00 pm.
To view and sign the family guest book, please visit www.harrymckneely.com.