Former Judge Robert J. Russell, Sr. of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and longtime resident of Montgomery, Alabama died peacefully with his family present on Sunday, November 13th 2016.
He is survived by his son Robert J. "Buster" Russell, Jr., (Laurie), (his two grandchildren, Ann Lauren Kaegler Russell of Dallas, Texas and Katherine Pierce Russell of Montgomery, Alabama), his brother, Frederick Allen Russell (Tiny), and his niece Rebecca Beasley and nephew, Scott Russell,
B.J. as he was affectionately known to his friends, was born on March 4, 1935, to parents James Russell and Pauline Staton Russell of Union Mississippi.
After moving with his family to Montgomery at a very young age he attended public schools, graduating from Sidney Lanier High School in 1953. He attended the University of Alabama and Auburn University where he later acquired his B.A. and Master's degree in Business. He was married in 1956 to Ann Paterson Pierce of Montgomery, having "Buster" in 1957.
In 1966, he graduated from Jones School of Law obtaining his Juris Doctorate. In 1972 he began practicing law and did so for 50 years until he resigned as Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Agriculture and Industries in 2016 due to his illness. He was a member of the Alabama, American and Montgomery County Bar Associations, was a Lambda Chi Alpha at Auburn University and Rotarian. In 1986 he was appointed by the then Governor Guy Hunt to the Court of Civil Appeals where he served for 2 ½ terms.
During his practice of law and for more than 20 years he was a lobbyist and general counsel for many business entities including the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, the Alabama Association of Realtors, Associated General Contractors of Alabama, Alabama Broadcasters Association, The Alabama Dental Association, The Motorcycle Industry Council and Humana Corporation, He was an active supporter of and consultant for many conservative Democratic and Republican candidates for statewide and national elected political positions.
He was the first member of First Baptist Church of Montgomery and after his marriage a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Montgomery, where he served on many committees, taught Sunday school and was a deacon. Thus, he consistently relied on God's word as guidance in his profession and personal life.
B.J. had an active life in Montgomery, playing tennis and enjoying his family, but he found great pleasure in traveling to Banner Elk, North Carolina where he had a business (BJ's Resort Wear) with his 40-year companion and business partner Sally Breslauer.
B.J. was a good friend to many and will be sorely missed. He was not only my dad, but my best friend.
The funeral services for Judge Russell will begin Wednesday, November 16, 2016, with a private burial at Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation thereafter will commence at 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Felder Avenue. Pallbearers will be Mr. Junie Pierce, Mr. Sim Penton, Mr. Ken Upchurch, III, Mr. Tommy Gallion, Mr. Ken Wallis, Mr. Jeff Barrerra, Mr. Walter Pettway and Mr. Scott Pierce.
B.J. had a two-page list of honorary Pallbearers. When he sees you again he will tell you whether you made it or not.
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on Nov. 15, 2016.