Russell Howard Richardson, born December 16, 1923 in Clarksville, Tennessee, died peacefully on July 23, 2014 surrounded by his loving family. Russell served with the United States Air Force in Italy, Sicily and North Africa during World War II from 1941 through 1945. After the war he attended Bethany College in West Virginia where he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, met and married his wife of 67 years, Fern, and graduated with a degree in sociology. Russell later attended the University of Tennessee on a full scholarship where he received his Master of Science in Psychiatric Social Work. In 1953 Russell went to work as the Director of Psychiatric Social Services at the Children’s Mental Health Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and as a marriage counselor and Executive Director of Planned Parenthood from 1952 to 1964. In 1964, Russell moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia where he served as the Southeast Regional Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America until 1970. His friend Kay Scott said of him, “He was a part of the ‘great’ generation and his contributions set the framework for the modern family planning programs.” In 1968 to 1969 Russell spent a year on Ford Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill obtaining another Masters degree in, Public Health. In 1971 Russell was appointed by Jimmy Carter to the Governor’s Special Council on Family Planning and from 1974 until his retirement, as the Director of the Regional Training Center in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Emory University where he retired as a Professor Emeritus in 1989. During the span of his 90 years, Russell was a man committed to his family, professional ideals and many and various causes; civil rights, the reproductive rights of women and educational opportunities for disadvantaged women through the Jeanette Rankin Foundation, and served on many boards, from AIDs Atlanta to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Rights Association.
In retirement and until the end, Russell continued to enjoy his favorite hobbies, raising begonias and operating as a ham radio operator. He is survived by his wife Fern, his four children, Sheryl Donaldson, Mark Richardson, Lisa Johnson and Joyce Fownes, his two granddaughters, Jennifer Branting and Kathleen Fownes and his great-grandson Noah Branting. Those wanting to contribute to one of his favorite causes may direct in his name to www.rankinfoundation.org.
NAQCC Number: 2527
Tribute by Lee Hatfield Jr, K2HAT
Category: Silent Keys