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RUSSELL, Albert (Al) Thomas

December 8, 1940 – January 17, 2013

Albert (Al) Thomas Russell, beloved husband of Donna and father of Allan and Lisa, passed away from cancer on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at the age of 72.

Al was born in St. James, Manitoba on December 8, 1940. His family moved to Calgary in 1950 where he attended King George and Crescent Heights Schools. He graduated from the University of Calgary with a B.Ed. Degree and commenced a thirty-three year career with the Calgary Board of Education, retiring in 1995. He taught at Rosedale, Langevin, G.P. Vanier, A E. Cross, and King George schools. He worked as a social studies consultant and an assistant superintendent and was principal of H. D. Cartwright and A. E. Cross Schools. Al was well respected in the education community and was dedicated to his students, their parents and the teachers he worked with. His students always came first and he enjoyed taking them on outdoor education trips. He coached many teams in both the school system and community.

During his youth he joined the army cadets, reaching the rank of lieutenant and spent several summers at Vernon as a cadet and officer instructor. During university he joined the UNTD Program (navy) and spent two summers at Cornwallis. He was a member of the CRTA, ARTA, Junior High Principal’s Association, Past President of the Triwood Community Association, Rotary (Olympic Club), and the Men’s Folk Singing Group.

Al enjoyed hiking, cross country skiing, wine making, stained glass work and music. He enjoyed playing the guitar, autoharp and singing folk music. He loved to travel, especially with his grandchildren to Disneyland. One of his greatest pleasures was spending time with family and friends at the cabin on Lake Windermere and captaining ‘his’ boat.

Al was very proud of his family and enjoyed watching and participating in their activities. Al is survived by his wife of forty-eight years Donna; his son and daughter-in-law Allan and Kelly; his daughter and son-in-law Lisa and Andrew; his grandchildren, Madison, Ty, and Payton; his brother and sister-in-law Dennis and Jean; and his nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Louise and Albert (Russ) Russell and his brother Craig.

Funeral Services will be held at St. Giles Presbyterian Church (1102 – 23rd Avenue N.W.) on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Alzheimer Society of Calgary, Suite 201, 222 – 58th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2H 2S3, Telephone: (403)290-0110, www.alzheimercalgary.com or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

In living memory of Al Russell, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH, Telephone: 403-276-2296.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Donna and Family,
    We are grieving with you over your deep loss, while finding peace in Al’s final flight from pain and worry. He is a wonderful man who made others feel special in his presence. That is a beautiful gift! Blessings and hugs as you celebrate his amazing life that lives on in each of you.

    Love,
    Doug and Katie Peebles

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  2. Donna, I was sad to see Al’s obituary in the Herald today. It was lovely to talk with you at Christmas, but I was tearful knowing that he was so sick. I will always remember his voice – he would have made a great radio personality! I will also remember his love of tropical fish and the beautiful stained glass he made. I will see you on Tuesday. When you have time, would you please send me your home address? (ldolph@telus.net)

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  3. Gary & Joan Trimble :

    Dear Donna, Lisa, Allan, Kelly & Family: We were very sorry to learn of Al’s death but relieved to know that his ordeal is over. Having been neighbours all these years, our favourite memory of Al was his remarkable interest, compassion and patience with children. Wonderful attributes for a teacher and a parent. He will be greatly missed.

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  4. Sorry to hear of Al’s passing. I will miss him at MFS, although I’m sure he will still be singing with us in spirit.

    Thom

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  5. Dear Donna and Family,
    I do wish to offer you my deepest sympathy to the passing of your dear husband and father of your children.
    His suffering has finally ended.
    He was a very fine man. He will be sorely missed by you.
    Abe Hintze.

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  6. I was honoured to work with Al for several years at A.E.Cross. He was the epitome of what a principal should be: knowledgeable, supportive, fair, and (above all), kind and caring. Students, parents and teachers held Al in great regard, with tremendous respect and affection. My career and life were both enriched because I was fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. Al will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered. Sending my deepest condolences to Donna and family, and sharing in your sorrow.

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  7. Meron and Brian Peake :

    We met Al and Donna in 1969 when we came from Australia to teach in Calgary for 2 years. Al was the most warm and generous man, with a passion and love for life and the out doors. We have wonderful memories of hikes, dining out, parties and just lots of laughter and fun. We saw Al and Donna once more when they came to Adelaide in 2001, but have kept in close contact all these years. Thinking of you Donna with love at this sad time.

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  8. Jim & Joan Schell :

    Donna, Allan & Kelly, Lisa & Andrew, Madison, Ty & Payton;
    Our heartfelt sympathies at Al’s passing. He has been released from all his pain but his leaving has left a void that cannot be filled. Al was larger than life, a gifted teacher and administrator who cared for and about his staff and students. To Jim and I he was a much loved friend and I will miss his bear hugs each time our group got together. Our sons also extend their sympathies, they remember Al teaching them to water-ski out at the lake during summer vacations, sharing stories at the villa over BBQ and beer.
    God bless you all with the peace and consolation of knowing Al will live in the memory of everyone whose life he touched and gifted with his friendship and warmth.

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  9. Barbara Johanson :

    Donna, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this very difficult time. Al will be sorrily missed. May God be with you now and forever. Barb J

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  10. Richard Wilson :

    It was with a true sadness that I read of Al’s passing. I had the honor to have worked with him at A.E.Cross in one of my first positions. A starting teacher could not have asked for a better role model and mentor. His dedication and caring for staff and students was clearly evident in all that he did. The world was a better place with him in it and he will truly be missed.

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  11. Paul & Monica :

    With Deepest Sympathy sharing in your sorrow. So glad that we saw Al during the summer, despite his suffering he was always in good humour. It was a pleasure to have met him. Lots of love to you all.

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  12. Geoffrey Whynot :

    Dear Lisa, Donna and family – my thoughts are with you through this time and beyond. Although I only met Al on a couple of occasions, I will always have great memories of his sense of fun and his enjoyment of life. Much love to you all.

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  13. Gaynor Dawson :

    Dear Donna and Family,
    I was so sorry to read of Al’s death and his suffering from cancer. I certainly understand how difficult that final process can be and send special prayers to you. Al will have made a difference in so many lives throughout his years in education. I am in Palm Springs so will not be able to attend the service but send special prayers to you all.

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  14. My sincerest sympathy to you all. Teaching is such a noble profession and your dad will have made a lasting impression on so many young minds. I’m thinking of you at this sad time. Love, Nora

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  15. Russ and Ida Daggett :

    Donna, Lisa, Allan, Kelly and Family,
    Please know our prayers and thoughts are with you all. We think back on all the wonderful times we had with you all as friends and neighbours. We will miss Al. Please know that our hearts are with you and how much we care.
    Love Russ and Ida

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  16. Lyn and Bill Eshom :

    Dear Donna,
    We were saddened to hear of Al’s passing and we send our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Having known Al since high school, our respect for him and all that he stood for has been unwavering. He was a people person with compassion and integrity. May the love and support of family and friends help you at this difficult time.

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  17. Marilyn Brown :

    I was saddened to hear of Al’s passing. He was a good high school friend from times gone by. My condolences to Donna and family.
    Marilyn Brown

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  18. Jean & Bill Archibald :

    Dear Donna & Family,
    Bill and I were saddened to hear of Al’s passing. We have so many great memories of our friendship. Hockey, boy scouts, the cabin, fondue suppers and many more. I hope you can all find comfort in knowing that Al was loved, respected and is now free of all pain, at peace in the arms of our Lord.

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  19. Donna, my thoughts are with you and your family. The last while has not been easy on any of you, yet you held together with an inner strength that was inspirational.

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  20. Andrena and Anya Batycky :

    We were so sorry to hear of Al’s passing. We will remember him fondly; especially our visits in Invermere. He always greeted us with a huge hug and smile. Our thoughts are with you at this very difficult time.

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  21. Colleen Reichrath-Smith :

    Dear Donna, Allan & Kelly, Lisa & Andrew,
    My thoughts are with you all. Al was a wonderful role model for me in many ways as well as godfather.
    Much love, Colleen

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  22. Frances Chapman :

    Donna,
    So very sorry to read about the loss of your husband. I remember meeting and visiting you both when Fred and I were visiting Russ and Ida. You will miss him, I know. Fred died in 2008, and we all still miss him. Again, my sympathy to you and your family.
    Frances Chapman

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  23. Tim &. Rose Hoar :

    Dear Donna & Family,
    Our deepest sympathies at this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We have fond memories of sitting on your boathouse deck and visiting with you.
    Tim & Rose

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  24. Ralph and Gwen Hodgins :

    Donna and Family:
    Gwen and I want to extend our sympathy to you and your family. May your heartfelt thoughts bring you comfort and loving memories of Al bring you all peace. We wish you strength at this very sad time.
    With Sincere Sympathy, Ralph and Gwen Hodgins

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  25. Geoff and Tammy Matthews :

    Dear Al, Kelly and family, We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
    Geoff and Tammy

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  26. DON AND AVIS WILLIAMS :

    Donna and family, Memories of sports, songs, music camps, Tuesday jam sessions, and menfolk singing come to mind. Leadership from day one as a teacher and administrator made a great contribution over the years. We are sorry to hear of your loss.
    Avis and Donnie

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  27. Moe & Spike Kacsmar :

    Dear Donna and family,
    We are so very sorry to hear of Al’s passing. We will be unable to attend his service as we are in Mexico. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Al. One could immediately tell that he was a rare jewel in the field of education as he cared for everyone that was in arm length of his very comforting big bear hugs. After I left A.E. Cross it was so nice to keep in touch with him, and you of course, at various ex-Cross functions. He was one of a kind! Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
    Moe & Spike Kacsmar

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  28. Dear Mrs Russell, Lisa and Allan,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will always remember all the summers spent at your cabin and the way you all made me feel like a part of your family. My thoughts are with you.
    Shanda

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  29. Doug Pipchuk and Family :

    Al, Mrs Russel and Lisa, the world is a sadder place. We are sorry for your loss.
    Doug Pipchuk and Family

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  30. Gail and Fred Porter :

    Donna and Family
    Our deepest sympathy on the loss of Al. Our thoughts are with you today.

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  31. Gail and Fred Porter :

    Donna and Family,
    Our deepest Sympathy.
    Fred and Gail Porter

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  32. To Mrs. Russell, Allan and Lisa,
    I’m so very sorry to hear this sad news. I have such wonderful memories of Mr Russell (and all of you) from growing up: camping in tents in the fog with Dolly and Peppi; waterskiing and hanging out in the cabin; big hugs from Mr Russell upon meeting — even if it had been a few years. My parents have a very special photo of Allan and me as babies on Mr Russell’s knee, and I can picture it in my mind’s eye fondly. I feel grateful that he was a part of my life, and thank you for sharing him with us.
    With deepest condolences, Carmen Hunt

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  33. Jenny, Dan and Simon Hasselman :

    To all of the Russell family,
    We are so very sorry for your loss. Al is certainly remembered most for the love, humour and support that he showed to family friends and the community, which will endure well beyond his time here with us. Take care and much love.

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  34. Dan and Louise Sinclair :

    Dear Lisa:
    Louise and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. I know that there is nothing that can replace a Dad, but just hold on to those memories that you cherish and you’ll get through this. You have Andrew and your family by your side and that love and support is wonderful.
    Thinking of you, Dan and Louise Sinclair

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  35. Donna, my heart goes out to you and your family at this time. I hope that your memories of the happy times will sustain you in the future.

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  36. You don’t know me but I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family. I am a scrabble opponent with nephew Kevin who sounds like a very nice young man.

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  37. Lorne Hamilton :

    Donna, Alan & Lisa,
    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Al. He was a good man I respested more than most. Al taught me a lot and supported me faithfully in the time I knew him while coaching Alan in soccer. He will be missed and the world is short a very caring and strong person in Al. My thoughts and well wishes are with you. Apologies for not be able to attend the service.
    Lorne Hamilton

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  38. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, it’s been many years but my Mom Elaine has always talked about Donna and Al. He was her absolute favorite principal and obviously an amazing guy! Lots of happy memories to reflect upon. Lisa Kubala

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  39. John and Teresa Sewall :

    Dear Donna and Family,
    Our deepest sympathy to you all. We are so sorry to hear about Al’s passing, but we know that his pain is now gone. Our thoughts are with you.
    John and Teresa Sewall

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  40. Howard Leinweber :

    Mr Russell was The AP at A.E. Cross back in the 70s when I attended there. I never forgot him over the years & in the early 1990s I was back at AE Cross, this time as a police officer & Mr Russell was the Principal. What I remember the most was he was fair, but knew that teenagers also had to be accountable for their actions. I’m grateful that Mr. Russell was there to put me back on the right path. My condolences to all of you

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