Booker T. Russell, age 84, died at his home in Minneota on July 23, 2016. He had been struggling with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for several years. A private memorial gathering for family will be held at a later date.
Russ, as he preferred to be called, was born on December 25, 1931, to Booker T. Wingard and Doris Wilson in Columbia, South Carolina. His childhood homes were in Columbia and in New York, with his Aunt Cleo, who was an actress at the Apollo Theatre. Russ would often appear with Cleo on-stage, as well. Finally, as a young teenager, Russ moved with his family to Chicago.
In Chicago, Russ began working at Golden Rod Ice Cream, as he had previously worked with his father at a similar ice cream business in Columbia. Russ also had an interest in photography, and became affiliated with Valentineâs Photographers.
Russ was drafted into the Army in 1953. He trained to be a member of the Military Police to be sent to Korea. However, the conflict was ended and he was sent to Germany, where he traveled by train across Europe as a Military Policeman. At the time of his death, Russ was a member of American Legion Post 199 in Minneota.
After his military years, Russ continued his career as a school photographer, and eventually had his own studios in Chicago and Columbia. His areas of specialty were portraits and weddings.
In fact, Russ met his wife, Marilyn Josephson, while taking pictures at the school where she was teaching. Russ and Marilyn were married on July 18, 1970. They enjoyed their life together, fishing, boating, bowling, gardening, cooking, and barbecuing. Russ and Marilyn also enjoyed travelling and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Russ is lovingly survived by his wife, Marilyn. He is also survived by a daughter, Gina, sons, Audie âSkipâ and Gregory (Sara). Also surviving are grandchildren: Walter Davis, Crystal Russell, Ashley Russell; Brian and Bria-Danielle Williams; and Austin, McKenzie, Greyson, and Annessa Russell. His great-grandchildren: Craig, Melanie, Braden, Chandler, and Luke Davis and Aleah Russell; and Davion and Daniel Williams also survive him.
In addition, Russ has one surviving sister, Vivian (Frank) Washington, and an uncle, Woodrow Wilson, as well as Marilynâs brothers and sisters-in-law, Allan, Charles (Joan), and Les (Donna) Josephson.
Russ was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Mildred and Helen; brother, James; step-brother, Ray Collins; and sister-in-law, Marlene Josephson.
In Russâs memory, his family requests that donations be sent in his name to the Veteranâs Park Memorial, at 502 Kennedy St. in Minneota, MN 56264.