photo provided
photo provided
Russell Beecher Williams was born on January 19, 1923, in Floyd, New York to William and Anna (Freiberg) Williams, the eighth of 11 children.

In Cooperstown, New York, he married Nancy Howland on New Year’s Day, 1971.

He was predeceased by his son, Gary.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Nancy; daughter, Barbara Saner of Rochester, New York; daughter, Nancy Miles of Barnevild, New York; son, David and wife, Alice, of Millville, New Jersey; sister, Caroline Rickerson; brother, Kenneth Gilbert Williams; four grandsons; four great-grandchildren; and many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Russell was a World War II veteran, serving in the Army Air Corp as a B-24 aircraft navigator flying 31 missions over Germany. After the war, Russell studied at Syracuse University on the G.I. Bill, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree.

On his 65th birthday, Russell and Nancy retired to Sisters. Russell loved the outdoors and revered nature. He and Nancy enjoyed hiking, biking, snowshoeing, squaredancing and their motor trips in the United States and Canada. On September 28, while hiking at Clear Lake, he fell off the trail and hit his head on a tree resulting in a traumatic brain injury. He spent the next couple months in and out of the hospital. He celebrated his 97th birthday with Nancy and friends at Hospice House two days before he passed.

Russell will be remembered by many as the willing storyteller and consummate volunteer at Sisters Habitat for Humanity ReStore. He received the Habitat for Humanity Golden Hammer Award for 4,000 hours of volunteer service and was honored with a lifetime achievement award for volunteer service from President Obama. Just six months ago, he hung up his ReStore apron when he could no longer move refrigerators without asking for help. He was truly an inspiration, admired and loved by his wife, family and all who knew him. He will be missed.

Russell was a long-time active member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church where a memorial service will be held on Valentine’s Day, February 14, at 1 p.m., at 386 N. Fir St. in Sisters. Nancy and family will be welcoming guests noon to 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers memorial gifts can be made to: Partners in Care Hospice House, 2075 NE Wyatt Ct., Bend, OR 97701, Partners in Care; or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), ASPCA.

Russell will be interned at the time of Nancy’s death at Floral Park Cemetery, Johnson City, New York, in Nancy’s family plot.