WILLIAM “BILL” MCKINLEY RUSSELL
WILLIAM “BILL” MCKINLEY RUSSELL JUNE 5, 1941 - MARCH 11, 2023
Memorial service for William “Bill” McKinley Russell will be 10:00 am Friday, March 17, 2023 at Second Baptist Church in Levelland with Rev. Mike Holster officiating.
William “Bill” McKinley Russell was born June 5, 1941 to Mary Beth and Cub Russell in Seymour, Texas. He attended school in Paint Creek, Texas. In 1958-ish he met the love of his life and partner in crime, Valeria Darnell, while making the drag in Haskell, Texas. According to Valeria, her dad had no idea she was “riding around” with Bill Russell. Bill and Valeria married in January 1960, and two weeks later Bill was shipped off to Thule, Greenland, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.
In 1961, Bill and Valeria were stationed in Tucson, Arizona, where they started their family with their firstborn, Darice Russell. Burl Russell came along after the Russell family had relocated to Irving, Texas. Vanessa Russell Theisen was born in 1964. That’s three babies in three years. The Russell family lived in Garland, Texas until 1978, when Bill and his business partner opened W&R Sheet Metal in Brownfield. He retired from W&R in 2005.
Bill worked hard all his life, and he played hard. In the mid ‘60s he earned his private pilot’s license in Terrell, Texas. He drag-raced the family car, he crop dusted, he was a SCUBA diver, he hunted deer, elk, moose, coyotes. Sometimes he would combine his love of hunting with flying his Super Cub airplane. Those poor coyotes didn’t know what hit them when they were being shot at from above. He’s flown experimental aircraft. He’s kept Terry County safe, patrolling the highways as a Sheriff Reserve Officer.
Bill was ordained as a deacon in the ‘70s at Freeman Heights Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, and was proud to serve as a deacon at his church home ever since. Bill’s relationship with Jesus was important to him, and it was important to him that his family knew about Jesus as well. Job well done, Dad. We do believe Jesus died for us, and because he died for us, someday we’ll all be reunited and spend eternity in Heaven. Until that day, we love you dearly and are missing you horribly.
Awaiting our reunion with Bill/Paw-Paw are: Valeria Russell, his beloved wife of 63 years; their children, Darice Russell, Burl Russell, Vanessa (Russell) and Jeff Theisen; grandchildren: April Russell, Johnny Theisen, and Savanna Theisen; Bill’s sister, Cynthia Wallace, and many other family and friends.