Dr. Frank H. Russell Jr., 95, formerly of Bridport


PITTSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Frank Hamer Russell Jr., 95, formerly of Bridport, died peacefully at the home he shared with his daughter and son-in-law in Pittsboro, N.C., on Sunday, March 3, 2024. He was surrounded by all six of his surviving children.

Frank was born in New York City on April 23, 1928, to Dr. Frank Hamer Russell of Yazoo City, Miss., and the former Charlotte McCoy of Portsmouth, Ohio.

In 1951, he graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a B.A. in Philosophy, Psychology, and Pre-Med. Frank then graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School as an Ensign and served aboard the U.S.S. Pittsburgh (1952–1953) then aboard the U.S.S. Randolph (1953–1955) in the Mediterranean 6th Fleet. He credited the Navy for training him as a leader and instilling discipline in him. Discipline and critical thinking became core values.

From 1955–1958, Frank studied at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. His first year of surgical residency was at Bellevue Hospital in NYC followed by four years of residency at Beekman Hospital in downtown NYC. He was named Chief Resident in both his 3rd and 4th years.

In 1963, Frank established his medical practice in General and Trauma Surgery in Port Jefferson, N.Y., and was on staff at John T. Mather Memorial and St. Charles General Hospitals through 1996. During his professional tenure and for decades after his retirement, Frank was highly respected by colleagues and peers for his skill, speed, tireless work ethic, and dedication to his craft. He made a difference in the lives of countless people.

As dedicated as he was to his work, Frank thrived in retirement from 1996–2021 in the house he designed and built on the shores of Lake Champlain in Bridport, Vt. In 2021, he moved to North Carolina to be closer to his family.

Frank often spoke of the importance of family — both his love of the family he came from as well as the family he created. He always wanted a big family and welcomed children Lesley Love Russell Landis (Hon. Randolph “Randy” Voller) and Kevin Pendleton Russell with his first wife, Harriett Anne Pendleton who preceded him in death. With his second wife, Berenice Margaret Reedholm who survives him, Frank celebrated the births of Frank Hamer Russell IV, John Reedholm Russell (deceased), James Hughes Russell, Christine Elizabeth Russell Hinch (Thomas), and William Reedholm Russell (Bonnie).

Frank’s love and pride extended to his six grandchildren: Olivia Marie Russell, Thomas Emerson Russell, Thomas Jordan Hinch, Lily McCoy Voller (deceased), Brendan Padraig Hinch, and Alyson “Eden” Russell Korcheck.

Frank was preceded in death by his third wife, Elisabeth Kaalund, and he delighted in his relationships with her children and grandchildren.

Frank often told tales of camping, fishing, and boating with his older brother, William Frank Russell and his younger sister, Eleanor Eleise Russell Lyon, who each preceded him in death. In the late 1930s they found and renovated a small boat and taught themselves to sail in New York’s Baldwin Harbor and the Great South Bay.

This nexus of wind, weather, and water were ingredients in a recipe for relaxation and innovation for Frank as well as a combination of forces that he would work with the rest of his life.

Frank was uniquely creative. He was able to visualize and draw both anatomical, technical, and perspective illustrations in great detail. A self-described “workshop man”, he loved to design and build airplanes, houses, cars, and boats.

Charities supporting indigenous Americans and social justice groups benefited from his generosity. Frank had an avid interest in the family’s genealogy, held a private pilot’s license, was a member of Experimental Aircraft Association clubs in New York and North Carolina, was a student of the Civil War, participated in numerous entrepreneurial endeavors and loved opera, lobster, champagne, and butter.

Frank Russell was a thinker, a problem solver, and an inspiration to all who knew him. Those who love him will feel his absence profoundly, especially his unshakable calm and assuring optimism.

More biographic detail and a gallery is at In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Dr. Frank H. Russell, Jr. to the Chatham Arts Council at ◊


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