John C. Russell

Published 3:19 pm Friday, May 21, 2021

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On May 18, 2021, John C. Russell met his Savior face-to-face, the one he loved and served faithfully his entire life.

John was born January 18, 1940 to Clarence and Bonnie Russell of Speedwell, Tn and has two surviving sisters, Alice Faie (Jim) Ward of Raleigh, North Carolina and Jesse (Walt) Ashe of Greenville, Tennessee. He met the love of his life, Phyllis Ramsey, and had 56 1/2 joyful years together. He is survived by his two children, Shan (Wes) Alexander of Chattanooga and Dr J. Mark (Tracy) Russell of Harrogate as well as six loved grandchildren: Noelle, Levi, Marielle, Luke, Emily and Eli. John was a gentle and kind husband, father and grandfather.

John worked as the county executive director at the USDA Farm Service Agency in Tazewell and retired after 30 years. He was also a lifelong farmer and truly delighted in God’s creation and working the land. While he had a fierce work ethic, in many ways, he was a man of parables, loving life stories that reflected the goodness and teachings of the Lord.

Because he was a student of God’s Word and knew he was loved and forgiven as a son of God, he was filled with gratitude and compelled to do all he could for the church and community, finding true joy in doing so. He was a lifelong deacon and a Sunday School teacher of 50 years at Shawanee and Binghamtown Baptist Church. As he communed daily with the Lord, he loved to teach the riches he found in the Scriptures. He was a founding board member of Gateway Christian School, Middlesboro, Kentucky. In addition, he served the community on the Arthur-Shawanee water board for 24 years as well as the Claiborne County hospital board. He was also a sought after speaker who trained throughout the southeast for the Farm Service Agency as well as teaching seminars on topics like Creationism within the church. Many found him a wise counselor and hands-on friend.

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Visitation and receiving of friends will be at Coffey Funeral Home in Harrogate on May 21 from 5-8pm. The funeral service will be thereafter at 8 PM. Burial services will be Saturday morning at the Harrogate Cemetery at 10 AM.