Dwight Russell

Obituary of Dwight R. Russell

With deep sorrow, the family of Dwight Romer Russell shares the news of his untimely death. He was taken from his life and from us on June 23, 2024, by an accident at his longtime residence in Milo, Maine, at the age of 76. Dwight was truly a Maine man, in every sense - a hard worker; the very definition of a master “jack of all trades”; a rugged individualist; a good man. He was husband to Kathy. Through 57 years, they negotiated life’s ups and downs together. He was my father, and I loved him dearly. He fiercely loved my brother, Stephen, who was taken by a car accident in 1991, at the age of 25. He was, and always will be, the beloved Puppa of his precious granddaughters, Hannah and Gretchen. He was also a son, a father-in-law, a brother and uncle, brother-in-law, friend to so many, acquaintance of many more, a thread in the fabric of his community. Dad was an ordinary man yet lived an extraordinary life, always on his own terms. I’m grateful he & Mom were able to have a big, full, adventurous life earned through hard work. He loved his family and friends, any car as long as it was a Ford, any car race, dogs, trucks old and new, campers and traveling, Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses, tools and gadgets, and, above all, airplanes and aviation. He disliked flat tires and hated Chevys. He could fix, repair, build or maintain almost anything mechanical - or otherwise - and if he didn’t know how then he figured it out along the way. Dad would tell me I wasn’t “holding my mouth right” if he saw me having trouble doing something. He always, always, had a jackknife handy in his pocket. He was strong, smart, stubborn, kind, opinionated, funny, generous, loving; a human being of worth, deserving of respect. Dwight was born in Milo, on November 30, 1946, the fourth and final son of Olivette and Romer Russell. He grew up in Medford, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and camping with the extended Russell family. Throughout his teen years, he was a local hellraiser, nicknamed “Scud”, yet somehow still managed to graduate from Milo High School in 1965. He served in the Navy Reserves for two years until being medically discharged. Afterwards, he worked at Pratt & Whitney aircraft in Connecticut, but soon returned to Maine to raise his family, and begin a long career as a railroad diesel mechanic. He worked for the B & A Railroad in Derby and then in Bangor and Waterville for Maine Central Railroad, which had become Guilford Transportation at the time of his retirement. Bitten by the aviation bug early on, Dwight grew this joy and interest throughout his life. He learned to fly and kept his private pilot’s license current. He loved flying all the numerous airplanes he ever owned. Each one he had was his “favorite”. Working on his own planes led to him learning how to repair and restore light aircraft, especially Piper Cubs. His work in this field brought him great joy and satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Dad was a well-known figure within the aviation community from Maine to Florida and beyond. His willingness to share his vast knowledge and expertise and help others earned him a great deal of respect and a multitude of friendships. This part of his life opened up a world of adventure for him and Mom, taking them all across the country, buying and selling planes, attending fly-ins and cookouts, resulting in lots of stories to tell. Mom and Dad have been snowbirds since the late 1980’s, spending increasing amounts of time at their beautiful place in Florida. Their property was always open for anyone to stay, and they hosted a “bean-hole bean” party for a great group of family, friends and fellow snowbirds every year. They also enjoyed taking many trips over the last several years, camping, making memories, and traveling across much of the United States and Canada. He was a great Dad and an even better Puppa. My best memories of him - teaching me and Stephen how to fish, providing for us, hiking in Baxter State Park, a childhood family road trip to Florida in a station wagon, walking me down the aisle, fixing my car, helping and supporting Rick and me, being there - will stay with me always. As Puppa, he was fun and loving, generous with his time and support. Hannah and Gretchen will always remember afternoons out on the lake in Florida, the smell of engine grease mixed with aftershave, dancing at Grand March, trips to Twistee Treat, and a shared appreciation for peanut butter sandwiches. Because of him they learned to never be afraid to fly. His pride in his girls and love for them was constant and unwavering. Every little girl should be so lucky. Dwight will be deeply missed by his family, especially his partner of 57 years and sweet dog, Zoey. On the night of his passing, an eagle perched in a tree behind his house, and then soared away. Fly free and find peace - be at peace - Dwight, Dad, Puppa. Thank you for your lessons and for your love. Fair winds and blue skies. Dwight is survived by his wife, Kathleen (Green) Russell of Milo; daughter Monica (Russell) Elder and her husband, Richard, of Edgecomb; granddaughters Hannah Elder and Gretchen Elder, both of Somerville, MA; brothers, Laurel “Doug” Russell and his wife Ethel of Milo, and Wendell Russell of West Hartland, CT; sisters and brothers-in-law: Sharon Manchester of Sebec, Joe Green and wife Joyce of Derby, Becky Henderson and husband Carl of Fort Kent, Roxie Easler and husband David of Corinth, Lynette Kroemer and her partner Duane Ballard, of Corinth, and Robin Sweetser and husband Wendall of Bryant Pond. He had extensive Russell and Green family cousins, nieces and nephews. Dwight was especially close to his nephew Tom Russell, who was also a friend and aviation adventure partner. Tom and Dad worked side by side on many projects together. His lifelong friend, Mike Perham, and his close airplane buddy Cedric Abbott, are counted among his loved ones as well. He will be sorely missed by one and all. Dwight was predeceased by parents Romer and Olivette (Gourley) Russell; his son Stephen Russell; in-laws Bob and Inez Green; brother, Robert Russell; and sisters-in-law Marion, Shirley, and Juanita Russell and Nancy Curtis. We will be holding a private graveside memorial service at the family lot in Evergreen Cemetery in Milo. Those attending are encouraged to wear or bring a hat, because Dad was almost never without one. Bring a stone for his grave, if you’d like. The family is hosting an Open House and Celebration of Life on Sunday, July 7th, 2024 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Three Rivers Kiwanis Community Building, 15 Harris Pond Road, Milo. Everyone is welcome to come, share stories, laughter, and tears. Please bring photos or mementoes of Dad. We would love to see them. Arrangements are in the care of the Lary Funeral Home. Flowers can be delivered to their location in Dover-Foxcroft, and will be brought to the graveside service. Memorial contributions may be made to the local animal shelter of your choice. Messages of condolence and memories may be expressed at www.laryfuneralhome.com.

Open House and Celebration of Life

12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Sunday, July 7, 2024
Three Rivers Kiwanis Community Building
15 Harris Pond Road
Milo, Maine, United States
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