Traverse City Record-Eagle

May 12, 2013

William 'Bill' Russell

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — William “Bill” Russell, 77, of Traverse City, died May 8, 2013, at home while with his loving family.

Our beloved husband, dad, grandpa “Bopa” and uncle was born on Dec. 21, 1935, in Traverse City, to the late Clarence and Margaret (Southbird) Russell. On Oct. 4, 1997, in Traverse City, he married Barbara Anne Mello, who survives.

Upon earning his master’s degree, Bill enjoyed a varied career, beginning as a school teacher in Chesaning, Buckley and Suttons Bay, where he also coached basketball. In 1975 he began Nish-Nah-Bee Industries in Traverse City, and the business thrived until 1998 when he retired. He seized the opportunity to make the American dream a reality for himself and for the many people he employed.

Bill was an active member of AA, which was an integral part of his spiritual path. He was proud of 32 years of sobriety.

Bill served his country honorably in the Marine Corps, including serving in the Korean War era.

In addition to being a devoted grandpa he enjoyed spending his time with family and friends. Bill’s interests included golfing, gardening, home improvement and reading.

In addition to his wife, Bill is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Ligon and her children, Mae, Jacob and Miles, of Traverse City; his son, Wm. Dodd Russell and his children, Anna and Will, of Traverse City; stepdaughter, Rachel (Rob) Davies and their children, Collin and Caitlin, of East Grand Rapids; sisters, Doris Struble and Nettie Keusch, of Traverse City; brother, Eddie Russell, of Traverse City; and sister, Ivanna Swainston, of Wayland; nieces, Jane (Joe) Rohl, Cheryl (Doug) Weathers, Judi (Greg) Blackmer, Jo Keusch, RaeAnn (Ron) Andrews, Carol Snyder, Alice Markus, Becky Russell and Pamela Russell; and nephews, Bob Markus, John Markus, Mark Russell, David Russell and Raymond Russell.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Ivan, Isaac and Carl; sisters, Mary and Myrtle; niece, Janet Brigham; and nephews, Jon Struble, Allen Russell and Michael Russell.

A memorial service will be held in Bill’s honor on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Visitation will take place one hour prior.

In honor of Bill’s memory and in lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to assist his special needs grandson, Jacob Ligon. Please make donations payable to Jacob Ligon by mailing a donation to Traverse City Record-Eagle, PO Box 1124, Traverse City, MI 49684.

You may also share your thoughts with Bill’s family at his online guestbook at

The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.