On December 17th, 2022, Gary Russell, passed away suddenly in his home in London, after a long illness, with family by his side. He had just recently celebrated his 83rd birthday.
Gary was a proud prairie boy, born and raised on a farm near Yorkton, Saskatchewan. In 1972, he was headhunted to take up a new position at Glendale Industries, and he moved his young family to Strathroy, Ontario. He spent most of his career working in the recreational vehicle industry and he truly loved his job. His children and grandchildren benefited from many years of outdoor adventures as a result. Summers spent together fishing and camping united his grandchildren from Italy with their Canadian cousins as they were growing up and are memories to treasure.
Gary had magical people skills that made him loved by all who met him. He is remembered for his incredible optimism, kindness, and quick wit. He was a peace lover and a peacemaker in all situations. His career offered many opportunities for him to travel the world and encounter new people and cultures which he always thoroughly enjoyed, though home was home. His was famous for the warm welcome given by him and his wife of 61 years, to all who entered it – and their doors were always open. Gary loved good food and good times, and these were always in abundant supply in their home.
A stroke in 2014 forced him into retirement. Gary’s patience and resilience in the face of stroke recovery, and then a subsequent diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, were truly heroic and inspiring to those who knew him well. Despite the many challenges he faced, he always kept his sense of humour and grace. And he drew his strength, too, from his wonderful wife, Elaine, whom he adored and deeply appreciated for the home they built together and the great care she took of him, particularly in recent years.
Gary is survived by his wife Elaine, his children Shannon and Mark, their spouses, Matthew and Patrizia, his beloved grandchildren, Jacob, Thomas, Alexander, and Tatiana, his sister Lalah and husband Wayne, sisters-in-law, cousins, many adoring nieces and nephews, and their families. He is predeceased by his parents, Claude and Christine, his brothers Grant and Dean, and his in-laws Peter and Alice, and his brother-in-law, Randy. He will be sadly missed by our family, extended family members, friends, former colleagues, and neighbours.
Gary chose cremation and to have no funeral, but his family will be organizing a celebration of his life to occur next summer. In lieu of flowers Gary’s wish was to have donations directed to:
Dale Brain Injury Services
St. Joseph's Hospice of London
Donate — St. Joseph's Hospice of London (sjhospicelondon.com)
The family wishes to extend our gratitude to all of the health care providers who assisted Gary and Elaine during his illness.
Arrangements entrusted to DENNING’S OF STRATHROY. Online condolences and donations may be left at www.strathroyfuneralhome.com.