US Navy

Philip Leland Russell

May 22, 1926 ~ August 14, 2019 (age 93)


Waynesville, Philip Leland Russell, 93, passed away on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at Maggie Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Philip was born in Robinson, IL, on May 22, 1926 to Leland and Margaret T. (Correll) Russell.  They lived in Trimble, IL, until moving to Yonkers, NY in 1936 when Philip was 10.  He left high school at the age of 17 to join the U.S. Navy in 1943.  Philip was a Carpenters Mate and was due for 1st Class when WWII ended.  He served in the LST 478 with the 5th Amphibian Fleet in the South Pacific.  His fleet played a major role in many invasions, the last being in Okinawa.  His ship sustained rudder damage and left the rest of the fleet that went on to Japan to return to the U.S. for repairs. They first went to Pearl Harbor and then onto California.  Philip received the Lord as his Savior and ended up working at the Word of Life Camp in Schroon Lake, NY in the spring of 1947 to help get the camp ready to open during the summer.  He worked there for one and a half years, before entering the Providence Barrington Bible College in Rhode Island from which he graduated in 1952.  It was here that he met and then later married the love of his life, Ruth Jane Hunter.  Phil had a love for music. In high school he played in a big band that performed in the USO’s before joining the Navy.  He played a variety of instruments from the guitar, harmonica, and accordion.  Phil served as song leader, he sang baritone and was often asked to sing solos or duets with his wife, Ruth.  They lived in Kearny, NJ from 1953 to 1991 where he worked as a carpenter and woodworker.  Phil retired in June 1991 from the Board of Education in Rutherford, NJ after 10 years working in the maintenance department.  He was a member of Kearny Bible Chapel and Rutherford Bible Chapel.  They moved to Clyde right after his retirement and then later moved to Waynesville in January 2005.  He was a member of Waynesville Christian Fellowship.  He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Ann Fyfe.

Philip is survived by his wife, Ruth Jane (Hunter) Russell; two daughters, Virginia Russell Bell, and her husband, Leonard, of Glendale, AZ and Donna Courter, of Kearny, NJ; two sons, Robert Leslie Russell, and his wife, Jo-Ann, of Sandy Hook, CT and David Lawson Russell, and his wife, Patricia, of Vernon, WI; a sister, Joyce Jamison; five grandchildren Keith Robert Russell, Jonathan Russell, Brian David Bell, Daniel Demarest Bell, and Christopher Jordan Bell; and seven great-grandchildren, Autumn and Robin Russell, Violet, Isla, and Logan Bell, and Mari and Brooks Bell; two nieces, Carolyn Ogden and Laurie Ryan, and their children.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, August 19, 2019 at Waynesville Christian Fellowship on Dellwood Road in Waynesville. Burial will follow at Garrett-Hillcrest Memorial Park.  The family will receive friends from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. prior to the services at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to one of the following: World of Life Camp, PO Box 600, Schroon Lake, NY 12870-0600; Camp Living Water, 1510 West Deep Creek Road, Bryson City, NC 28713; or Waynesville Christian Fellowship, 1115 Dellwood Road, Waynesville, NC 28786.

The care of Philip has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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August 19, 2019

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Waynesville Christian Fellowship (Dellwood Road, Waynesville)

Funeral Service
August 19, 2019

11:00 AM
Waynesville Christian Fellowship (Dellwood Road, Waynesville)

Burial following the service
August 19, 2019

Garrett - Hillcrest Memorial Park


Waynesville Christian Fellowship Church
1115 Dellwood Road, Waynesville NC 28786

World of Life Camp
PO Box 600, Schroon Lake NY 12870
Tel: 1-518-494-6000

Camp Living Water
1510 West Deep Creek Road, Bryson City NC 28713

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