Theodore M. Russell ’52

Theodore M. Russell ’52 died on March 28, 2015, in Yarmouth, Maine.(The following appeared in The Portland Press Herald, April 1-2, 2015).

YARMOUTH – Theodore Merrill Russell, MD, age 84, died at his home in Yarmouth on March 28, 2015, after a long illness. Born on Sept. 11, 1930, at St. Barnabas Hospital in Portland, he was the son of Carl Asa Russell and Ruth Merrill Russell of Falmouth.

Ted grew up in Falmouth with his brothers John J. Russell and Carl A. Russell, Jr. He attended Falmouth schools and graduated co-salutatorian from Falmouth High School in 1948. Ted grew up in a musical family and played the xylophone. His mother accompanied him on the piano when they entertained at local events and the USO.

Ted attended Bowdoin College where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi and sang with the Bowdoin Chorus. He graduated cum laude in 1952. Shortly thereafter, he entered Tufts University School of Medicine. During his second year of medical school, he went on a blind date with Ellen Butler of Portland, who was attending Simmons College. By the end of that date, Ted was certain that he had met the girl of his future. They were married on June 16, 1956. Ted graduated from Tufts in 1957 and completed his internship at Maine General Hospital in 1958.

From 1958 to 1960, Ted was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., serving as a captain and medical officer. In 1960, Ted, Ellen and new son Donald returned to Portland, where he entered a residency program at Maine Medical Center. He became the hospital’s first pediatric resident. In 1962, Ted and family moved to Augusta, where Ted opened his pediatric practice. He spent long days and nights making house calls and seeing patients at his office or at the Augusta General Hospital where in the early 1970s Ted served as President of the Medical Staff and Chief of Pediatrics. He eventually took in two partners and the practice became Russell, Sheehan, and Good, PA. Ted reluctantly retired in 1978 due to a degenerative spinal cord disease.

While in Augusta, Ted served on the Board of Directors of the Maine Children’s Home, The Mimi Judd Fund, and Hospice of Kennebec Valley. Ted was also a member of the American Medical Association, the Maine Medical Association, and the Kennebec County Medical Association. He was a communicant of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Augusta and a member of the vestry.

Ted and Ellen moved to Yarmouth in 1993 to be closer to family. He cherished the time spent with his grandchildren Libby and Teddy as a playmate in their younger years and attending their school activities and sporting events as they grew older. He was a woodcarver, furniture maker, musician, jewelry maker, clay sculptor, pin collector, and cartoonist. The family spent summers on Flying Point in Freeport, where Ted enjoyed fixing up the camp, gardening, and general puttering. He knew the value of thrift and reusing materials and he enjoyed a good yard sale. Ted was also known for his skills in the kitchen as a bread and relish maker. He was a life-long animal lover and enjoyed teaching his dogs fun tricks.

Ted is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 58 years, Ellen Butler Russell of Yarmouth; a son Donald Asa Russell and daughter-in-law Pamela of Cumberland; his grandchildren Elizabeth (Libby) Russell of New York City, and Theodore (Ted) Russell of Cumberland. He is also survived by his brother Carl A. Russell, Jr. and his wife Margaret, and sisters-in-law Hannah Russell and Judith Nichipor. Ted also leaves several nieces and nephews and their families. He was predeceased by his parents; and brother John J. Russell.

The family would like to thank Casco Bay Home Care and Hospice of Southern Maine who made it possible for Ted to be comfortable at home.