RUSSELL, Benjamin Alan
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Passed on March 30, 2012 to join his sadly missed wife, Torchy. Al was born on August 7, 1923 in Vancouver, but grew up in Regina. He spent four years at Notre Dame College of Wilcox, under the tutelage of Father Murray, where he fitted in High School between hockey practice and baseball field trips. He joined the Army as a Physical Training Instructor in 1942, lost his left leg below the knee in an accident while on duty in Canada, and was discharged in 1945. Alan was married to Torchy on May 6, 1949 at the Canadian Memorial Church in Vancouver. Al graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in 1949, and a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1952. He was called to the Vancouver Bar in August of 1952. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a barrister and solicitor before retiring in 1984. During these years, Alan made great contributions to The War Amps both at the National and Branch levels. In this regard, his leadership skills and knowledge were a driving force behind the National Board of Directors of the Association for many years. After his retirement, he was able to devote more of his time to his passion, service to the War Amps. Alan was elected to the Vancouver Branch Executive of the War Amps in 1955 as First Vice President and was Chairman of the Finance Committee. He held this position until 1958, when he was elected President. He remained as president until moving to the National level in 1964. From 1964 to 2005 Alan held a number of positions as a member of the National Council. In 2005, Alan was elected Chairman of the Board and held this position until 2012. Al loved and was proud of his many roles with the War Amps. He made many lifelong friends and colleagues, and he provided welcomed support and guidance in his role as Chairman of the Board. Al loved to spend his summer weekends at Cultus Lake, where he and Torchy bought a cabin in 1960. There he would spend many hours enjoying the company of his family and friends. Al loved all sports. He was an avid golfer, curler and lawn bowler. He curled until his 85th year, a proud member of the Tunnel Town masters league and golfed with the guys at the Delta Golf Club. And oh boy, did he love his Lions and Canucks. Whether he was watching the games from the stands or on the television, it would be safe to say, Al was always a vocal participant. Alan is predeceased by his parents, Harold and Jessie Russell, his wife of 62 years, Torchy, his brother, Mac, his sister Russ and his daughter Gail Londry. He will be sorely missed by sons Dean (Sherry), Neil (Fran) and Gary (Fern) as well as his nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. The family would like to offer our very grateful thanks to the staff of The Waterford where Alan lived for his last four years. Also special thanks to Dr. Ken Lai, for his thoughtful and professional attentions over Alan's life. To celebrate his life, a gathering of family and friends will be held in the summer. Al lived a life of service. He served with his "hounds" in the shacks at Notre Dame, he enlisted at 18 years in the service of his country, he lived to serve his clients in his law practice, and he lived the war amps motto, of "amputees helping amputees." He was a kind and gentle man who loved his family, travel and his volunteer duties. He will be missed on earth, but welcomed into heaven. The family would like to request that in lieu of flowers a donation be made in Al's memory to the War Amps.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Apr. 20 to Apr. 22, 2012