James Carlton Russell

James Carlton Russell

James Carlton Russell died at his home in Wasilla, Alaska of natural causes on January 17, 2021, at the age of 90, with his faithful dog Spike by his side.

Jim was born on September 24, 1930, in Palestine, Texas, to Willie Marie (Woods) Russell and Carl Russell. He joined the Army in July 1949 and served in Germany and Korea, earning the rank of Corporal. After being honorably discharged from the Army in October 1951, Jim attended college and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tri-State University in Indiana.

Jim moved to Anchorage, Alaska right out of college and began his career in construction management. He also homesteaded in Alaska for several years with his friends Jim Spurlock and Ralph Nix. Most of Jim’s work in the ‘50s and ‘60s was out of town, with many jobs for the Navy in the Aleutian Islands. After the ’64 earthquake, Jim worked on many jobs for the federal government in Anchorage, Seward, Valdez, and Kodiak.

Jim worked for C.R. Lewis Co. for many years helping to build Alaska. Some of the projects he worked on were: the Arco Building, the new Federal Building, Diamond and Service High Schools, BP Building on C St., 5th Avenue Mall, National Guard Armory Ft. Rich, Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Plant, Anchorage and Palmer Pioneer Homes, ML&P Power Plant, Performing Arts Center in Anchorage, and many more. He retired from CR Lewis in 1989.

In his late 40s, Jim was introduced to Doris Conley, who lived in California. After a two-year, long-distance courtship, they married on November 1, 1980, and Doris joined him in Anchorage. It was a first marriage for both. In Doris’ own words from her journal: “Jim was a Christian man. His habits, character, and morals were more than I could have hoped for. He was a well-rounded man of many interests and abilities. He was not a poor man and could well support a wife. He had excellent health and was from a good stable family.”

They moved to Wasilla after Jim’s retirement and enjoyed an active life of travel and gardening. Jim grew the best tomatoes and the most beautiful hanging flower baskets. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and especially loved dip-netting on the Copper River. After moving to the Valley, he and Doris were members of King of Kings Lutheran Church and then Lamb of God Lutheran Church. He and Doris enjoyed more than 35 years of marriage before her death in 2016.

Jim was preceded in death by wife, Doris; his parents; sisters, Jane Wooten and Mozelle Collins; and brothers, Raymond, Erwin, and Logan Russell.

He is survived by sisters-in-law Nelda Russell and Dora Russell of Palestine, Texas, and several nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held Wednesday. January 27th at 2 pm at the Palmer Cemetery with Pastor Eugene Larmi officiating.

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