Patrick Steven Russell left his family too soon on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Those who will always remember the wonderful gifts he brought to the world include his three children, all dearly loved, Cody, Melissa, and Evelyn. He listed his favorite quotes as “Yes, my Honey Bear,” a favorite pet name for his children, and “Hi kids, I’m home.” Also missing him are his four brothers, Clifford, David, Sean, and Tim.
Pat follows his mother, Arlane, and his father, Clifford, back to Earth’s embrace. He also follows his beloved grandparents Estelle and Gwendon Hott and Mary and Charles Russell.
A 1990 graduate of East Jordan High, Pat was a gifted natural athlete. Early on this was evident when, as a child, he could scale the refrigerator by its door handle just to reach the cookies on top. He competed in baseball, basketball, football, and track. Pat also played soccer with his brothers Dave and Tim, traveling to Boyne City, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Traverse City, even Mackinac Island, to play “the beautiful game.” The brothers also competed in East Jordan’s fast pitch softball league, on various teams, but at one point they played together on the team named Cliff Russell Heating, sponsored by Dad. Some of the families’ fondest memories of Pat occurred during these carefree years.
As he leaves us, Pat is remembered as a man who would go out of his way to help others, driving four hours south to help his Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim with home repairs or yard work. Tim recalls a time when Pat stayed on the phone with him until the wee hours of the night during a difficult time, soothing his brother so he could fall asleep. Dave remembers the time when Pat, before he could swim, attempted to walk out to the raft to be with his big brothers. The water over his head did not stop him. In his youth especially, Pat was fearless.
Later, he became an East Jordan lifeguard.
Pat has worked in a number of professions, managing a restaurant, working at East Jordan Iron Works, and with Whitaker Construction Services. Most recently he was self-employed, operating Pat Russell’s Handy Services. Ever a tinkerer, he felt his skills best lent themselves to finding problems and fixing them. This is how he approached problems faced by his family and friends as well. If one came to him with a problem and asked him for help, he would do his best to help figure it out.
Looking through memories of the past, notes from friends and family recall him as a great guy with an impish grin and a mischievous nature. Many in the family were reminded of Pat’s father, Cliff, when they saw, heard, and spoke with him. Always unassuming, he was perfectly comfortable in a flannel shirt, baseball cap, jeans, and work boots. Coffee cup in hand and a smile on his face, Pat could and would talk for hours with anyone.
It is a genuine shame to lose such a man, but he will live on in our hearts and our memories. With any luck, the world will better learn how to appreciate this kind of person while he walks among us. In the meantime, we must ease our sorrows by recognizing the blessings granted to us by being able to know and love him.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at 2:00 P.M. at the Harvest Barn Church in East Jordan.
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