William M. "Mickey" Russell
William M. "Mickey" Russell (11/21/42-11/2/20) died Monday, November 2 after a long illness. Mickey was born in the Irish Channel and raised in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. He graduated from De La Salle High School in 1961. He played on the LSU freshman football team in 1961 and remained a lifelong fan of the Tigers. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and was very proud of his two tours in Vietnam, starting in 1963.
He graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in history. He was a lifelong history buff with a particular interest in World War I and World War II history. His history of the Battle of Iwo Jima was published by Ballentine Books in 1975.
After stints driving a Metry Cab and working in sales, he found his work home at the Air Force Historical Research Agency in Montgomery, AL. He worked there from 1985 until he moved to Clark Air Base, Philippines in 1988 to serve as 13th Air Force's historian. After Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, he returned to the AFHRA in Montgomery and worked there until his retirement in 2015.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Alline; daughter, Jessica Sparks (Will); grandson, William Cooper Sparks; sister, Cathy Russell Held; and many other family and friends. Jessica is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, and is grateful that her father never held a grudge against her for not attending LSU. He loved his family and was beloved by them. His laugh and zest for life will be missed.
Mickey was so proud to support his daughter, a young breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 31. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama. For more information and to donate, please visit https://www.bcrfa.org