GREENFIELD - Russell L. Burnett, Jr., 94, a resident of The Arbors of Greenfield, formerly of Ashfield, died Friday, March 28, 2014, at Charlene Manor Extended Care Facility.
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Born in Pumpkin Hollow, Conway, MA, on Aug. 20, 1919, he was the son of Russell L. and Jessie (Mason) Burnett. He was a graduate of Sanderson Academy.
Russ was employed by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft when he enlisted with the U.S. Army Air Force. He was a Flight Engineer on a B-24 with the 43rd Bomb Group known as ""Ken's Men"" serving in the Pacific Theater. While training at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Miss., he met and married his wife Jane (Salter), who was from Mobile, Ala. They moved from Alabama to Massachusetts in the late 1940's.
Upon returning to the area, Russ was employed by Stanley Home Products, Inc. as an independent salesperson and then later as a unit and branch manager with Jane. They so enjoyed meeting wonderful people throughout Massachusetts and Vermont.
Russ joined the Masons while he was in Alabama and continued when he returned to MA. He was also a Life Member of the American Legion Post #245, a member of the Conway School Committee, served on the Frontier School Committee, along with his wife Jane, they chaired the Bicentennial Ball Committee in 1967 for Conway's 200th Anniversary.
He was a longtime member and deacon for the United Congregational Church of Conway.
Russ was a member of the 43rd Bomb Group Reunion Assoc. and attended numerous national gatherings. He received his private pilot's license in 1974 and later achieved commercial status. He and Jane completed 11 cross country flights to Colorado, Alabama and Florida in their Piper Cherokee. Many a fun excursion was taken to Keene or Jaffrey, NH, Block Island, RI, and Machias, Maine.
He enjoyed playing his guitar, harmonicas and singing. Joining a ""pickin"" and ""singin"" group of like-minded area musicians provided many hours of fun. Russ and Mae Smith and her husband ""Smitty"" formed a group called ""The Old Folks At Home,"" who visited area nursing homes and played old time favorites for the residents.
In his early years, Russ enjoyed trapping and deer hunting, later he took on downhill skiing, snowmobiling, boating, waterskiing and golf. He was a member of the 70+ Ski Club.
Pop knew every good place to find ice cream across the U.S.A.
Russ was predeceased by his wife Jane of 67 years in 2011; his sister, Eleanor Wright, and a son-in-law, Donald Faufaw in 2007.
Russ is survived by two daughters; Cheryl Faufaw of Buckland and her fiance' Calvin Parsons and Candace Bath and her husband Joseph of Berthoud, CO; two granddaughters, Kristie Faufaw (Mike Sisum) of Hawley, Debra Collazo (Michael) of Springfield, MA, great-grandchildren: Emily, Isaac, Wyatt and Grace Sisum, Keisha, Anthony, Korey, Michayla, Isabella and Catalina Collazo; a sister, Margaret Folgmann of Greenfield, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Russ's family wishes to thank Comprehensive Home Care (especially Tori O'Dell), The Arbors of Greenfield, the Charlene Manor staff and Hospice of Franklin County for all of their kind, thoughtful and loving care.
A funeral service will take place Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home, 40 Church St., Shelburne Falls. Immediately following the service, a reception will be held at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center at the corner of Church and Main streets.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested memorial contributions be sent to Hospice of Franklin County, 329 Conway St., Greenfield, MA 01301 (www.hospicefc.org)
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home Inc
40 Church St Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Published in The Recorder on Apr. 2, 2014