Samuel Whitfield Russell Jr. was born Sept. 6, 1955, in Halifax County, where he lived until his parents moved to Alexandria where his dad worked as a barber at the Pentagon.
During these years of his life he and his brother spent many happy hours playing with friends in the neighborhood when not attending school. Also, during this time Sam played little league baseball and found that he really enjoyed the sport.
Later, due to a temporary separation of his parents, his mom, brother and he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he lived with his two aunts, Iris and Ethel.
Finally, when his parents reunited, they moved to South Boston where his dad was a barber in Riverdale. He attended high school at Halifax County High School. During this time, he played Dixie Youth and Babe Ruth baseball until marriage. He truly loved playing ball and quite excelled at it.
He met his wife of 46 years, Alice, while attending Halifax County High School, and in 1973, they were married at the young age of 18. At the early age of 18, Sam surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ and became a born again Christian and came to find out the next day that his wife had also become a believer the night before. What a great gift and miracle that was.
He and his wife eventually had three daughters, April, Beth and Grace whom he loved and spent time with bike riding and other fun recreations. During his early-married years, he worked for the Norfolk and Western Railroad but eventually left this job due to having to spend weeks away from his family and not being able to attend church.
He then went to work for J.P. Stevens in South Boston for a few years. He started feeling the Lord dealing with him about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and began helping Brother Coy Terry in the jail ministry as well as he and his family getting involved in a bus ministry at the Centerville Baptist Church in South Boston.
He and his wife and children also became involved in a nursing home ministry with Brother Coy Terry. Sam enjoyed going at times on the streets of South Boston passing out gospel literature in front of what was called back then “the liquor store.” He spent many hours trying to persuade the folks that went in that place that they shouldn’t go in and they needed to be saved.
As time went on, he and his wife became very serious against the use of other versions of the Bible other than the King James and eventually moved to Pensacola, Florida to attend Bible Church under Peter S. Ruckman who was a great defender of the King James Bible. It was there that Sam became active in the street-preaching ministry with some of the other students.
While living there and attending church, Sam felt the calling to attend Pensacola Bible Institute and eventually graduated. He still loved preaching on the street and spent many hours, when not working downtown Milton, Florida and Mobile, Alabama, preaching with the guys. Having a desire to go Montana, he moved his family there for a brief one-year evangelistic street-preaching endeavor by passing out Chick gospel tracks in the bigger cities.
A friend from back home in the South Boston area asked him to come back to the area of Clover and start a church there preaching and promoting the King James Bible. He moved back and started the Bible Believers Baptist Church, Clover, which he pastored for four years. During this time, he took a job at Climate Control, Inc. then he eventually went to Elliott Electric. He later started to work for Moore’s Electric in Altavista, where he worked as a Journeyman Electrician and eventually retired.
There were many times on the job where Sam witnessed about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how they were living their lives before God. He had a real burden for those in his family who were not saved. During some of these years, he had the privilege to preach several funerals of family members who died. He liked to not only preach the gospel, but cause people to examine their lives.
After leaving the church in Clover, he attended other local churches but never felt comfortable in them. Many he found were using other means to correct the King James Bible even though they said they didn’t.
Finally, prior to death, he attended Bible Baptist Church in South Boston under Pastor Chris McGee whom he loved and enjoyed his unique way of preaching. While attending this church, he became involved in the church’s nursing home ministry at Berry Hill Nursing Home.
If he could have one last word to say to you people, he would say, don’t waste your time of frivolous things. Also, because Sam, all during his growing up years, had a real struggle with the TV and movie industry, he preached to all those who would listen to how devastating and time consuming this past time could be in the life of a Christian.
Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!
Sam went home to be with Jesus on Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the age of 64.
Sam is survived by his wife of 46 years, Alice Seigla Russell of Randolph; three daughters, April R. Daniel and husband Irving of Louisburg, North Carolina, Beth R. Lassitter and husband Todd of Camden, South Carolina and Grace R. Kelehar and husband Curtis of Guyton, Georgia; six grandchildren, Amber Daniel and husband Brandon, Ariel Lassitter, Isabelle Lassitter, Annelise Lassitter, Xander Kelehar and Alanis Kelehar; three great grandchildren, Kane Daniel, Samson Daniel and Aurora Daniel; his aunt, Ethel Everhart.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Steven Russell.
A private graveside service will be held at the Clover Cemetery on Thursday, May 7, 2020, at 2 p.m. with Pastor Chris McGee officiating. The family will receive friends at the cemetery immediately following the service.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service will be live streamed and can be viewed on the Powell Funeral Home Facebook Page.
Online condolences may be made at www.powellfuneralinc.com.
Arrangements are by Powell Funeral Home and Cremations Services, South Boston.