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Topic: Rev Russel passes at age 97

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El Supremo

A lovely man who smiled often. He was a true man of God and it is too bad we don't have more leaders like him!

Pastor remembered as a spiritual leader and activist in the Flint community
Published: Friday, March 18, 2011, 8:53 AM Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011, 10:00 AM
By Jared Leatzow | The Flint Journal
file photoRev. Reuben Russell
FLINT, Michigan The Rev. Reuben Russell came to Flint in 1961, taking the lead at what was then a relatively small congregation at Vernon Chapel AME.

He retired nearly 22 years later, growing his flock of active members from about 100 to 500 and becoming the spiritual adviser for many of this citys leaders.

Russell died March 6 in Mobile, Ala., at the age of 97.

In 1968, I came to Flint, and I remember seeing and hearing him speak, and because I knew of him, I joined the church, said Floyd Clack, a former state representative, county commissioner and city councilman.

I wanted to get active, and he encouraged me. Later he supported me when I first ran.

Russell also created a citywide baccalaureate worship service for high school graduates. He held leadership positions in Concerned Pastors for Social Action and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and had volunteered extensively with the Red Cross and the March of Dimes.

As a fellow minister, he was a leader among ministers, said the Rev. Ernest Garrison, now pastor at Vernon Chapel.

Russell also hosted the Concerned Pastors radio show on WDZZ, continuing even several years after he retired.

He was known for his outspoken opposition against racism and his concern for the community, said church member Ruth Boone.

Russell moved to Michigan after graduating from high school in Alabama. He worked in a variety of jobs autoworker, hotel bellhop and waiter on a boat. He received his seminary education at Wilberforce University and was ordained in 1941.

He was a pastor in Roseville and Muskegon Heights before moving to Vernon Chapel, where he retired in 1990.

A funeral was Friday in Mobile.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. April 2 at Vernon Chapel AME Church, 5802 Dupont St. in Flint.


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Post Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:36 pm 
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