James T. "Red" Russell was born in Sweetwater, Texas, on April 15, 1914, and died in Longview, Texas, on May 17, 2010, at the age of 96.
After moving to Omaha, Texas, when he was five years old, he attended Omaha schools until his senior year when he transferred to Daingerfield High School to play football. He was awarded the first athletic scholarship from that school. He graduated from East Texas State Teachers' College where he lettered for four years in football, basketball, tennis and track and was named All Lonestar Conference in football and basketball. After graduation, he coached at Hughes Springs, McLeod and Grand Prairie, before joining the U.S. Navy. He served our country in WWII as a chief specialist.
After the Navy, he coached at Pittsburg High School before moving to Sabine High School. At Sabine, he coached football, basketball, baseball, tennis and track. In his ten years of coaching football at Sabine, he compiled a 76-28 record. His teams won three district championships and two teams were undefeated in conference play.
He received his Master's Degree from East Texas State University.
From 1957-68, he served as the elementary principal at Sabine and later as an interim superintendent.
J. T. "Red" Russell was the voice of Kilgore College Football and for the Longview Lobos on KFRO radio for twenty-three years. Beginning in 1969, he was the coordinator for the Safety and Driver Education Program for Region VII Educational Service Center at Kilgore College for 10 years.
He was the president of Gregg County Elementary Principals Association, was the president of Sabine Lions Club for three years, was Deputy District Governor of Lions International for two terms, and served four years on the Gregg County Appraisal District Tax Review Board representing the Sabine ISD. He was also a member of the Liberty City Baptist Church.
Coach Russell was an avid fisherman and spent many hours on area lakes. He also loved to grow a large garden and share the results with his friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Johnnie Hervey Russell and his wife of 19 years, Allyene Jackson Russell.
He is survived by his daughter, Glenda Rains; daughter, Donna Clark and husband Jack; and son, Rick Russell and wife Linda; ten grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the nurses and CNAs at Station One and the nice people at Texas Home Health Hospice.
Visitation will be today, May 20, 2010, at Rader Funeral Home in Longview, Texas, from 6-8 p.m., and a celebration of his life will be held Friday, May 21, 2010, at noon in the chapel at Rader Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made in memory of Coach J.T. "Red" Russell to the Red Russell Scholarship Fund, Kilgore Jr. College, c/o David Wylie, 1100 Broadway, Kilgore, Texas 75662.
A memorial guestbook may be signed at www.raderfh.com