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Tom Hunter Russell

Male 1940 - 2012  (71 years)

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  • Name Tom Hunter Russell 
    Born 6 Sep 1940  Ventura, Ventura, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 8 Feb 2012  Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I742  Mouchet-Roberts genealogy
    Last Modified 17 Feb 2012 

    Father Leo Hunter Russell,   b. 16 Jan 1908, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Oct 1974, North Slope, Alaska Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 66 years) 
    Mother Living 
    Family ID F3730  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Eulogy from Katy Pegelow
      Thomas Hunter Russell - 6 September 1940 - 8 February 2012.

      Tom was my dearest friend in the entire world. I first met Tom back in 1966 when I came to First Church to audition for a soloist job. I did not get the job, but Tom made me feel at home.
      The Tom I knew


      Tom was born 6 September, 1940, in Ventura, Ventura California, the son of Gwendolyn (Jones) Russell and Leo Hunter Russell. He grew up in Bakersfield, California. He often spoke of his beloved grandfather, Elmer Jones, who lived in Ventura.
      Tom told me that he was diagnosed as a young child with a heart murmur. It disappeared for a brief time, then returned a couple of years later. He suffered from heart problems most of his life, but he never let it get in his way.
      Tom's greatest love was his music. He studied throughout his high school years and in 1959, received an organ scholarship from the Kern County Chapter of the American Guild of Organists as well as a scholarship from Chapman College. During this time, he served as organist for St. Mark's Methodist Church in Bakersfield and served as organist for a weekly religious broadcast group.
      After graduation from North High School in Bakersfield, Tom briefly attended Bakersfield College, and then went on to attend Chapman College. After graduation from Chapman, he moved on to the University of Southern California, where he received his Bachelor's and Doctoral Degrees in law. Tom was admitted to the California State Bar in June of 1965 and opened his practice in Los Angeles, California, which practice he continued to operate until his retirement in 2009. A gifted trial lawyer, Tom was an advocate for fairness and frequently took on civil rights cases pro bono to assist those who could not assist themselves. Tom's law practice operated primarily in the Hollywood area. He was preceded in death by his law partner, Robert Wynn.
      Tom had many gifts that he shared with others throughout his life, one of which was his knowledge of accounting and investment practices. In the 1960's, Tom met the charismatic Dr. James Wendell Holmes Fifield, then Sr. Minister of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and his path in life was set. From that time forward, Tom became a dedicated member of First Church, serving on practically every Board and Committee of the Church, including the legal and insurance committee and frequently, as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Tom worked directly with Dr. Fifield on many issues, chairing the somewhat controversial Freedom Club, and acting as assistant organist and choir member. As a great lover of the Great Organs of First Church, Tom helped to direct many of the expansion projects of this wonderful instrument, including the installation of the Frank C Noon organs in the rear balcony and the Holzgraf Trumpets in the front and rear of the church. When the Northridge Earthquake struck these organs were in a state of refurbishing. Tom was the first person to arrive at the church and to take measures to protect the building and inspect the damages. It was under his direction that the huge finials were removed from the tower, they having undergone severe damage from the quake and aftershocks.
      Tom was quietly generous to his friends, helping them on many occasions without a word. On one occasion, he discovered that a man in the choir had lost his job and had holes in his shoes which were stuffed with newspaper to protect his feet. Tom immediately took the man out and bought him new shoes and a suit so the man could go out and find a new job. He helped the people he loved and he loved a good many people, receiving their love and devotion in return.
      In the 1980s, Tom helped establish "Friends of the Los Angeles Bach Festival", a non-profit group that was a fund-raising arm of the festival. The Bach festival was one of his favorite projects, having been in existence since 1934. Tom also helped found the First Church Organ Concert Series, which worked in conjunction with the local Organ Guild to secure artists of world-wide fame to display the great organs in all their glory.
      Active in Civil Affairs, Tom served as A commissioner on the Los Angeles City-County Consolidation committee where he worked pro bono in the efforts to seek new ways of making government more efficient and less costly to the Taxpayers. He ran for office of State Senator of the 23rd District as a Republican candidate, but did not succeed. He was, however, extremely active in politics throughout his life. He also enjoyed membership in the Freemasons and loved attending the local Glendale Breakfast Club's social gatherings.
      Tom was survived by his sister, Gloria and other family members, several God-sons and his many friends, all who loved him dearly.