Russell, Donald M.
Donald M. Russell 93, born in Quincy, MA, passed away on February 2, 2021 in Plano, TX after a brief illness.
He graduated from Quincy High school in 1945 and enlisted in the US Coast Guard. When he returned and did a Post Graduate year at Thayer Academy in Braintree, MA. He then attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME and graduated in 1951. He played offensive and defensive tackle for the Bates College football team. After graduating from Bates, Russell was a high school social studies teacher and coach at Hollis High School in Hollis, ME, assistant football coach and headmaster at Thornton Academy in Saco, ME and Turner Falls High School in Turners Falls, MA where he taught social studies coached football, basketball and baseball and was the athletic director.
In 1960, Russell joined the coaching staff at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as the freshman football, basketball and baseball coach. Russell took over as the head football coach in June 1964. He became Wesleyan's athletic director and chairman of the physical education department in 1968. His best season at Wesleyan as a coach was in 1969 when he led the Wesleyan Cardinals football team to an undefeated, untied 8–0 record. He was named New England Small College Coach of the Year while the team tied for the Lambert Cup. He led Wesleyan to Little Three football championships in 1966, 1969 and 1970. He served in leadership positions with the NCAA, ECAC and was a founding member of NESCAC.
He was very active in the Middletown community. He was a member of the Board of Education, the Common Council, Police Commission, Fire Commission, Chairman of the Middlesex United Way Annual Campaign, Board of Corporators of Middlesex Hospital, Palmer Field Renovation Committee, Park and Rec Commission, the Republican Town Committee and the Middletown Rotary Club.
Upon retirement, Don and Joyce split their time between Jekyll Island, GA and Lake ST Catherine's, Poultney, VT until they relocated to Plano TX in 2003. While in Plano he continued his love of football by attending many Friday night high school games. He also played some of the best golf of his life in his 80's and had three holes in one.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Joyce Hughes Russell; his children Beth Russell Campo and Norm of Barre, VT, Cathy Russell Pleines of Marshfield, MA, Andy Russell and Pam of Old Lyme, CT, Debbie Russell Smith and Andy of Woodbury, CT and his first wife, Helen O. Russell of Niantic, CT the mother of his four children. He also leaves behind Joyce's children; Jayne Creelman of Van Alstyne, TX and Ralph Eric Ellis and Michele of Palm Harbor, FL. He has 14 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, George Cameron Russell, Lillian McIntosh Russell and his brother George.
There are no services planned at this time due to Covid-19. A quote from Don Russell from his high school yearbook was: He is one who has left a name behind him. Could not be better said.
Published by Middletown Press on Feb. 5, 2021.