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Charles William "Duke" Russell Jr.

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January 16, 1926 - July 30, 2015 Charles "Duke" William Russell, Jr. was born in Hollywood, California on January 16, 1926. In his early life he sang in the Blessed Sacrament Church Choir and played shortstop for Hollywood High. He was one of the original Loyola Lions ('51), graduating with a BA in Business. Duke volunteered for the Army Air Corps in 1944 and trained as a B-17 aerial gunner, then later joined the Brooklyn Dodgers' farm team in Santa Barbara. In 1947 he took the Great White Steamer to Catalina and asked the vivacious Shirley Storm to go for a walk. They were married in 1952 and walked to Larchmont every day for 60 years. Duke raised a great family and took care of his best friend, Shirley. Duke worked lighting at the Hollywood Bowl and then for ABC's General Hospital for 30 years. But there was no retirement for Duke as he remained heavily involved in his community. He is best known for getting the ball rolling for Jackie Robinson Day throughout all of Major League Baseball and as the founder of The Annual Abe Lincoln Remembrance in L.A. On July 30, 2015 he was reunited with his mother, Helen Russell, his father, Charles Russell Sr., and his sister Rose Hughes. Duke is survived by his wife, Shirley Russell, and their children, Charles "Chick", Colleen, and Suzanne, as well as their eight grandchildren. A Funeral Mass will be held at Christ the King Church at Melrose and Vine on August 7th at 10:00am. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Homeboy Industries. Hollywood will miss its favorite son.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 2, 2015
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