Russel Smith, age 91, of Hendricks, MN passed away Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the Hendricks Nursing Home. Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at Christ Lutheran Church in Hendricks. Burial will be in the Hendricks City Cemetery. Visitation will be 5 – 7 p.m. Monday, November 25th at the Hendricks Hospital Chapel in Hendricks. Houseman Funeral Home, Birk Chapel in Hendricks is entrusted with the arrangements.
Russel Martin Smith was born on January 20, 1928 in Minneapolis, MN to Foster and Hilda (Moe) Smith. He was graduated from Hendricks High School in 1946 and joined the US Navy. Russ married his high school sweetheart Ginny (Virginia) Thompson in 1948 beginning a life-long adventure and loving partnership. Russ furthered his education graduating from Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 1950. He spent 4 years teaching and coaching in Echo, MN and Castlewood, SD prior to joining the Lutheran Brotherhood Insurance Society. Russ began as a field agent in South Dakota, later as General Agent in Dayton, Ohio, South Dakota and St. Paul, MN, and then in the corporate office in Minneapolis, concluding his career on the Society Board of Directors. His career with Lutheran Brotherhood spanned 45 years.
Russ and Ginny retired to Rockport, TX where they were involved in community and church activities, and were charter members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church where Russ served as its first president. Russ enjoyed golf, working with stained glass, reading and collecting books, especially Lewis and Clark journals, James Michener sagas and presidential biographies. Their travels took them around the US and Europe including special trips to Greece and Turkey. As an advocate for higher education, he established the Russel and Virginia Smith scholarships at both Augsburg College and Texas Lutheran University. He loved animals and supported local animal rescue groups and adopted several stray cats, his most cherished was Snoopy.
After moving to Apple Valley, MN, Russ and Ginny continued to volunteer and ultimately returned to Hendricks in 2008 to the caring community they left 60 years prior. Russ was chaplain of the Rueben Hansen American Legion Post 195 and past president of the Hendricks Foundation. His vision and support helped initiate the Ardor Square project on Main St.
Russ will be remembered for his devotion and love for Ginny and his family, his church, and community service. Russ was fun-loving and had a unique sense of humor. His calm strength and faith helped him endure the challenges presented later in life.
Thankful for having shared Russ’s life are his five children: Rebecca (Brent) Christianson of Northfield, MN; Kathleen (Scott Wallace) Aydin of Hendricks; Brian (Tia) Smith of Lakeville, MN; David (Nancy) Smith of Rapid City, SD; and Noel (Heather Douglas) Smith of Orangeburg, NY; 7 grandchildren Sasha, Jordan, Johanna, Leah, Elisabeth, Kyle and Senja; and 3 great-grandchildren Silas, Owen and Emilia.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers Clare and Louis and sister Helen Sventek; his wife Ginny; and son-in-law Fevzi Aydin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are preferred to the Hendricks Community Foundation or Good Shepherd Hospice, both of Hendricks, MN.