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Posted By Whitney & Murphy On February 4, 2020 @ 11:05 am In Obituary | 18 Comments

Robert Russell 3

Robert R. Russell, 87, earned his wings surrounded by family on February 1, 2020 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Bob was born in Grand Island, Nebraska on June 11, 1932. He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Hanna Russell, brother William Lee Russell, and his wife of 58 years, Mary Lou Russell. He will be forever loved and missed by his daughter Jacqueline Lee Petchauer (William), son Craig William Russell, grandchildren Christopher Stranz (Jenny) and Katherine Stranz, and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins that he leaves behind. Bob was a ‘people person’ who thrived on being surrounded by friends and extended family, never relinquishing his role as Patriarch of his family and best friend to many until his last breath.

Bob joined Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nebraska from 1950-1954. Upon graduation, he served first as a 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army, in West Berlin after the Korean War, from 1954-1956.

After eloping to Las Vegas to marry Mary Lou Rosenquist, Bob began his meteoric rise in the fledgling computer industry at IBM Phoenix, where his first child Jackie was born in 1960. Eventually the young Russell family transferred to La Habra, CA, then moved on to Chicago with Greyhound Computer. Bob then joined a new start-up, Booth Computer Corporation, which took the family back to Woodland Hills, CA, where son Craig joined them.

Through all the moves, Bob’s heart always brought him back to Phoenix. He returned in 1971, founding a computer leasing company called SMI (Systems Marketing, Inc.). SMI is where Bob discovered his wheelhouse, forming many lucrative relationships and transactions. Upon the sale of SMI, Bob founded Russcor Financial, Inc., which served as a springboard for a multitude of real estate developments in Phoenix, Telluride, Flagstaff and beyond.

His passion for living life to its fullest was evidenced by his love for the shores of Las Conchas in Rocky Point, aviation, golf, and sports teams including the Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Nebraska Cornhuskers. Bob’s love for aviation brought the purchase of a TBM-3E Avenger Torpedo Bomber Warplane that he enjoyed taking to air shows to educate the public.

Bob had an unwavering commitment to give back to those in need. He never met a stranger and took a personal interest in each and every person he met, remembering every detail about them and their family. He loved all unconditionally and was a mentor to many young men and women. He even counseled many couples and helped keep many a marriage together with his wisdom.

Bob leaves many legacies behind, including a St. Vincent de Paul Lifetime Achievement Award. He rose early every Monday morning to dispense McDonald’s gift cards to the less fortunate, inspiring them to never give up. He served as a key board member for Goodwill Industries of Arizona, Barrows Neurological Foundation, Brophy High School, Boys Hope of Arizona, among others. He made many lifelong friends along the way, but always treasured those formed at Gerard High School where he served as President of the Booster Club. He also built the Russell clubhouse in his hometown of Fullerton, NE where many would gather after a day of golf.

Bob Russell had a vision long before many did to build a family house in Rocky Point on its solitary beaches, where Bob was able to indulge his love of family, horsepower, fishing and margaritas for decades. He created a family gathering place for many to enjoy for the past 45 years, knowing it made his family closer. The family will continue the legacy of the “Russell Compound”, even offering it as a VRBO for other families to cherish!

In his final days as his body grew tired, his spirit did not. Every wonderful hospice nurse that came to the house would say “I just want to take him home with me, he’s so darn cute”. He got a huge grin on his face when they would call him “Mr. Redford”, which he heard a lot in his younger days. With some gracious help from Mike and Ruth Rosenquist, caregiver Lisa Gledhill Spoomer, and Jackie and William Petchauer, Bob moved onto eternal life, looking out at Camelback Mountain.

His family finds comfort knowing that his strong faith has carried him through the Gates of Heaven, reunited with his wife Mary Lou undoubtedly asking what had taken him so long. We also find solace knowing Bob is now free of the physical limitations that could not discourage or defeat him in his final months.

A Funeral Mass to celebrate Bob’s bountiful life will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2020 at 12 noon, at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 5045 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix. Donations can be made on his behalf to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Phoenix (www.stvincentdepaul.net) Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com

Condolences for the family of “RUSSELL, ROBERT R.”

Condolence from Christine Faraci and the Marzola Boys on February 4th, 2020 12:39 pm

Dear Jackie and family so sad and sorry for y’all’s loss sending our condolences and wishes for peace and comfort. Hugs,

Condolence from Maureen (Rossie) Myles on February 4th, 2020 1:07 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with the family. I just loved this man and of course, his beautiful wife. They were neighbors next door when I was growing up on Exeter Blvd. Always so kind!

Condolence from Steve & Glenda York on February 4th, 2020 1:22 pm

To you and your entire family, Jackie, we send our love and sincere condolences. You are all so fortunate to have had such a wonderful man in your lives.

With love,

Condolence from Sharon Lowe on February 4th, 2020 4:33 pm

Sympathy to all of the family. I was fortunate enough to meet Bob, after the flooding in Fullerton, NE. At this time, it damaged our golf course beyond repair. So, the fundraising began. I was elected to the Board of Pawnee Hills Golf Course. This man, never forgot where his roots, family came from. He was generous to help with the building of the now Pawnee Hills Club House. He would come back yearly for the Russell Tournament, visited with all. He was a kind, caring person, I had and always will have the utmost respect for him.

Bob, thanks for all you did for the golf course, and for all you did for the community of Fullerton!!!

Condolence from Steve Zabilski on February 4th, 2020 5:32 pm

Bob Russell was maybe the finest man I have ever met. His love for other people – his family, his friends, the homeless, and the working poor was the center of his life.
Bob was a true servant leader, one of those rare people who was as comfortable making policy decisions and reviewing budgets and financial statements in the board room as he was with a mop and a broom in a charity dining room.
Bob devoted his life to helping others, and he will be remembered as a mentor and a friend to all to know him.
St. Vincent de Paul would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Bob Russell. He was our angel, and we miss him dearly.

Condolence from Brower Family on February 4th, 2020 5:36 pm

On behalf of the entire Brower family, I want to offer our condolences for your loss. Our extended families were close and shared the wonderful environment of Fullerton Nebraska. Our sympathy to the entire Russell clan.

Condolence from Tim/Julie Riewer on February 4th, 2020 9:16 pm

Our regrets to all Bob’s family. We are Fullerton NE residents and saw many examples of Bob’s total generous nature and his constantly positive approach to every person he interacted with. We always felt his warmth toward us and the Fullerton community in general! We’ll miss him and know he is continuing to spread his warmth, great smile and love all across heaven from hereon, forever! Tim/Julie Riewer

Condolence from Leslie OMalley on February 5th, 2020 9:59 am

Michael and I want to extend our sincere condolences to all of Bob’s loved ones. He was an amazing humban being and I remember when Michael went to work for him he made both of us feel so welcome. He was a mentor to Michael and his gift of wisdom, both in business and personally, helped to grow a young man into the man he is today. His generosity of spirit preceeded everything he did. I remember meeting his dear Mary Lou at their home in Arcadia when they hosted the company Christmas party. I was star struck! He took some of us out to see a tree that had been spliced together so it was half orange and half grapefruit! He loved it! He was disarming and charming and I know how much he will be missed by all who had the honor of knowing him.

Condolence from David Hepburn on February 5th, 2020 10:00 am

I worked with Bob in the early and mid 1970’s at Telex Computer Products as well as SMI. He and Mary Lou were good friends and Bob mentored me in the leasing business. I will miss him greatly. Bob was the impetus for me to start my own leasing company, and his wonderful moral and ethical character helped to mold me for a lifetime.

Condolence from Nancy julian on February 5th, 2020 10:25 am

Dear Jackie and all the family,
So sorry for your loss, your parents were such a wonderful couple – fun and supportive of friends , community and family. They will be missed
Nancy Julian

Condolence from Paul W. Turner, P.E. on February 5th, 2020 10:37 am

I had the deepest respect and admiration for Bob. He was one of those people who really cared about others. I’m going to really miss his endless energy to make things better in this world.

Gonna miss you Bob,
Paul W. Turner, P.E.

Condolence from Kenneth Krenke on February 5th, 2020 11:25 am

I always enjoyed being around Bob on sporting events and hunting trips. He always had a positive attitude about everything. I will miss working with him on his developments in Flagstaff. GO BIG RED

Condolence from Ed Jones on February 5th, 2020 12:29 pm

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Brother Russell, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends & chapter brothers. While I never had the privilege of meeting Bob, I pledge that the SigEp Patriots Project will always remember him, his life & patriotic service. Rest easy, Brother.

Condolence from Barry Hayes on February 5th, 2020 3:03 pm

Jackie..I was so sorry to hear that Mary Lou had passed and now Bob has followed her. It is always heartbreaking when you lose a parent but I’m certain you are taking solace in the exemplary lives both of your parents led. I hope you lean on all the wonderful memories you must have to support you through the grieving process. Take care of yourself.

Condolence from Kiley Miller on February 6th, 2020 11:36 am

Jackie, Craig and family:
We were extremely sorry to learn of your Dad’s death and we want you to know that you have our deepest sympathy. The qualities that your Dad embodied in his life truly set him apart. Day in and day out he lived a life that consistently reflected his Christian values through humble acts of service and generosity.
To many people your Dad has passed from death to life–in fact it’s just the opposite. He has passed from death to life and one day his believing family and many friends will join him.
Bill and Kiley Miller

Condolence from Rachel and Joe Sacco on February 8th, 2020 11:30 am

On behalf of the entire Sacco family, we want to offer our sincere condolences on the loss of Bob. Bob will forever be remembered for his generous spirit, his positive zest for life and his deep connection to family and friends. We feel blessed to have known him. He will be missed by so many but never forgotten.
Rachel and Joe Sacco

Condolence from Dylan Dinan on February 9th, 2020 11:45 pm

My mom used to work for Bob and I had the honor of meeting him two days before he passed. Such an incredible legacy and man.

Condolence from Joseph Rosenquist on February 10th, 2020 12:24 pm

I’m saddened to hear of Bob’s death. As the husband of my aunt, I could call him Uncle Bob, and I was always amazed by him when we were able to get together. I learned about his businesses and charitable activities, but one time I asked him about a building with his name on it. He said that it was in Fullerton, his hometown. Then I knew that he didn’t forget where he came from. He epitomized the best of the heartland, genuineness, hard work, sharing and giving back. We’re all going to miss him.

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