Deacon Robert “Bob” Russell entered eternal life on January 15, 2024. He was ordained on May 21, 2016. Deacon Bob was an integral part of our St. Mary Catholic Church-Jackson for many years and loved serving the church as a Deacon. A few of Deacon Bob’s principal Ministries at St. Mary were Coordinator of Hospital Ministry of the Sick, Coordinator of Sacristans, and Coordinator for Holy Week Liturgies.

Funeral Arrangements

— Visitation will be Friday, March 22, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, at Smith Funeral Home, North Chapel, 2812 North Highland Avenue, Jackson, Tenn. The Rosary will be prayed at 4:00pm.

— Funeral Mass will be on Saturday morning, March 23, 11:00am, at our St. Mary Catholic Church, 1665 Highway 45 Bypass, Jackson, Tenn. Bishop David P. Talley will be the Celebrant. Father David Graham will be the Homilist and lead the burial Rites after Holy Mass.

— Internment will be in the new columbarium on the campus of our St. Mary Church and School and will take place immediately at the end of the Funeral Mass.

There will be a luncheon in Holy Family Hall on the campus following the Funeral. All are invited.


Robert Emmet Russell (Bob or Mr. Bob, or Deacon Bob) entered eternal life in his Jackson, TN, home on Monday, January 15, 2024, as a result of an unexpected heart attack.

The eldest of ten children, Bob was born on April 28, 1947, in Buffalo, NY, to Edward and Carol Russell. After moving to Park Ridge, IL, with his family at an early age he excelled at academics, ran track in high school, and cherished the role of being a big brother. Bob went on to study engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago graduating in 1969 with a BS in Metallurgy, followed by a MS in Materials Science in 1970 for which he completed his thesis on powdered metals. Bob then attended the nighttime MBA program at the Illinois Institute of Technology, finishing his degree in 1975 and went on to become a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) in 1986.

Bob started his career at Northwest Industries in Chicago, IL, settling down in Arlington Heights, IL, where he fathered four children: William, Catherine, David, and John. Bob left a lasting impression on his children through his active involvement in Indian Princesses, Indian Guides, and the Boy Scouts of America and through annual family summer road trips.

Bob was brilliant and strong-willed as well as a bit stubborn at times, and he relished both the domestic tranquility of living alone and serving his church and community. Bob continued to revel the role of being the eldest brother and found enjoyment attending family gatherings, celebrating the accomplishments of his children, and making trips to see his grandchildren and he was infamous for his annual Christmas Letter.

Whatever the interest or subject, Bob would jump in with both feet, doing the research, writing copious notes, and striving to become a subject-matter expert. Those that knew him best will always remember his innate ability to dream-up and construct a special gadget for any purpose imaginable.

In 2005, Bob broke away from his Midwestern roots and moved to Jackson, TN, where he instantly fell in love with the Southern lifestyle. Being a strong leader and mentor, Bob looked for ways to continue helping and coaching others after retirement. He was determined to live out his final years serving the Catholic Church and was ordained on May 21, 2016. Deacon Bob was assigned to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Jackson, TN, and served as an integral part of the parish; some of his principal diaconal services included: Coordinator of Hospital Ministry of the Sick, Coordinator of Sacristans, and Coordinator for Holy Week Liturgies. Deacon Bob loved serving the Church, it expanded and cultivated his compassion and empathy towards others and provided a disposition of tranquility.

Bob was preceded into heaven by his parents, Edward and Carol Russell, sister Margaret Russell, and brother Patrick Russell. Bob’s memory is honored and kept alive by his loving children (William Russell, Catherine (Christopher) Mack, David (Melissa) Russell, and John Russell), cherished grandchildren (Jackson and Margaret Mack), brothers (Timothy Russell, Edward Russell, Brian Russell, James Russell, and John Russell), and sisters (Ann (Alan) Gornik and Catherine (Derek) Mannering).

Please pray for the repose of Deacon Bob’s soul and for his family and many friends. May God grant him eternal rest!

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