Dr. Robert Vance Russell Sr., 83, died on July 29, 2020, in Franklin after a short battle with cancer.
Dr. Russell was born on Dec. 23, 1936, to Dr. Blanton Everett Russell and Nellye Dean Brown in Clinton, Kentucky. He always opined that this was the worst date for a birthday, as it was so close to Christmas.
He grew up in St. Louis; Beckley, West Virginia; and Cincinnati, Ohio, as his father, a physician, worked in Veteran Affairs hospitals. Bob attended Vanderbilt University and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, where he was a Justin Potter Scholar. He attended Vanderbilt Medical School, completing his medical degree and then continuing with an internship there.
After graduation, Dr. Russell, on the advice of a medical school professor, joined the Navy, earning the rank of lieutenant commander. He served in the Public Health Service branch of the Navy for two years, attending the Native American community in Alaska. He was stationed in Barrow.
Upon his discharge from the service, he went back to Vanderbilt for a residency program in general and orthopaedic surgery. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Russell completed a hand fellowship and joined Nashville Orthopaedic Associates. Practicing with orthopaedic pioneers Dr. Ben Fowler and Dr. Don Eyler, Dr. Russell specialized in surgery of the hand. He participated and helped to oversee the growth of this practice to what is now known as the Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance, the largest orthopaedic practice in Tennessee. Known affectionately as “Russell” to the doctors, nurses and staff, he was a gifted surgeon and had a great sense of humor both in and out of the operating room.
After his retirement, he went into what he considered his second career, that of helping his daughter develop and run a horse farm in Williamson County. He came to the barn every day to help clean stalls. But what he most enjoyed was being on his tractor, skid steer, bull dozier or some other piece of heavy equipment.
Bob was an avid and skilled outdoorsman all his life, being exposed to hunting and fishing at an early age by his beloved maternal uncle, William Brown, and maternal grandmother. He passed his love for the outdoors on to his children, who went with him on many adventures. In the past year, he was still able to travel to western Canada, Oklahoma and the panhandle of Florida pursuing these passions.
Bob touched many lives as a doctor, father, grandfather and friend. He will be missed deeply by all that had the great fortune to know him.
Dr. Russell was preceded in death by his wife, Nanci Judd Russell, and her sons, Patrick Jason English and Harvey Wesley English; father, Blanton Everette Russell; mother, Nellye Dean Brown; and brother, Dr. William Blanton Russell of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Dr. Russell is survived by his first wife, Kay Johnell Russell, and their children, Dr. Robert Vance Russell Jr. (Margaret), Dr. James Crawford Russell and Laura Rebecca Galoppi (Rob) all of Franklin. He’s also survived by Robert Judd English (Roda) of Lexington, Kentucky, and grandchildren, Olivia Procter Russell, Robert Vance Russell III, Carolina Wren Russell, Dixie Crawford Russell, Ellie Claire Russell, Abigail Catherine Galoppi, Emma Marie English, Hayden Wesley English, Jackson Tyler English, Connor Judd English and William Owen English.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Williamson County Hospital, especially those on the third floor CCU for their dedicated care during this time.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with a graveside service following at 2 p.m. at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville. Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Tuesday and one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
In place of flowers, donations can be made to the Leiper’s Fork Church of Christ.
Williamson Memorial Funeral Home, 3009 Columbia Ave. Franklin, TN. 37064 615-794-2289 www.williamsonmemorial.com