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Thomas Lee Russell, 72, of Goshen and formerly of Bristol, passed away in the comfort of his own home with his family at his side on Sunday evening, March 19, 2023. He had always been considered to be a kindly and loving father, husband, grandfather, brother and friend. He was born in Goshen on September 29, 1950, to the late W. DeVon and Florence B. (Lechlitner) Russell. Also preceding Tom in death is a son, Johnny Albert, and a granddaughter, Erika Beachy.
On October 24, 1981, Tom married Dixie (Ates) Russell, who survives him in Goshen. Also surviving are his daughters Amanda Lee (Ethan Haar) Russell of Chicago, Illinois, Lynn (Bill) Gilvin of Elkhart and Sonya (Steve) Stanage, also of Elkhart; his brother Gary F. (Rebecca) Russell of Dallas, Texas; his sister Karen (John) Hughes of Parrish, Florida; grandchildren Spencer Haar, Mary and Nolan Gilvin, Tyler (Anabel) and Broc (Megan) Stanage, Ben (Brittany) and Tim (Andrea) Selner, and Jessica and Donnie (Sarah) Frandsen; great grandchildren Penny and Sophia Selner, Athena Frandsen, Rhett and Lillian Stanage, Greison Jump, Ethan Beachy, Guy and Julie Branam and Mckynzie Wingfield; his niece Jennifer (Scot) Berk, and a loving host of extended family, friends, co-workers and business associates.
Tom graduated from Elkhart High School in 1968 and began working in the RV industry. In 1987 he founded his own distribution company, Russell Products, Inc., in Bristol. He retired in 2021 after 34 years there as a successful and respected business owner and was well known throughout the industry as being fair, honest, hard-working and just a great person to be around.
He was also active in his community and gave his time to Bugles Across America, the ELCO Theater (Lerner) Board, the American Legion, The Elkhart “Island of Blues” Festival, the EHS Class of 1968 Reunion Committee, the Elkhart County Chamber of Commerce, the “Stories Retold” Board, was repeatedly volunteering to be Santa Claus, and much more.
He loved music, dogs, golfing, car and boat rides, campfires and U.S. history. He hosted many events and friends in the warehouse at Russell Products and was always most comfortable behind a desk. Tom leaves behind a legacy embodying kindness and generosity. We love him and we will miss him dearly.
Services will be held at Billings Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Elkhart with visitation taking place on Friday, March 24, 2023 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. Tom’s homegoing celebration will then be held on Saturday, March 25, 2023, also at the funeral home, at 1:00 pm, with visitation beginning at noon. Burial will follow in Violett Cemetery in Goshen.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Elkhart County Humane Society, The Center for Hospice Care, or plant a tree in Tom’s honor.