Russell was born on July 29, 1948, and landed safely on the runway in heaven on July 6, 2021, at age 72, after a short, serious illness. He was the son of Roy and Reva Cook. He was a lifetime Dayton, Ohio, resident and a Springboro resident since October 2004.
In August 2015 Russ suffered a massive bilateral occipital lobe stroke which left him with cortical blindness, light perception vision only. At times he was able to see fleeting images of things. He loved to fly with a flight instructor even being blind.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents Roy and Reva Cook.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret (whom he called his Angelle). They were married 31 years on May 1. Also surviving him are his sister, Karen Weaver, brothers, Roy (Gloria) and Joe (Wendy) Cook and sister, Jean Ann Wick. He is also survived by his loving stepchildren, Warren Tutwiler of Centerville, OH, HollieLinn Tutwiler of Derby Line, Vermont, and three grandchildren, Kindred A. Tutwiler of TX, Kayleigh Tutwiler of TX, and Kami Tutwiler of Centerville along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was also survived by his best friend in recent years, Grey Eagle, his cat whom he rescued 17 years ago.
Russell graduated from Northridge High School in 1966. He was inducted into the Northridge Hall of Fame in October 2014. He earned his pilot license in March 1967, prior to having his driver's license.
He will best be remembered for his Aviation career and the legacy he left behind. He touched so many lives with his North American Texan-T6, which he owned for more than 20 years.
Russ would tell people that flying was not a job, but the love of his life. He had many different flying positions in his life, but his longest and most memorable flying years were with DHL where he began in November of 1985 until 2003. The DC8 was his last large plane to fly for the company. He also is very well known for his love of Vintage warbirds, having flown the B29, B17, PV2 Harpoon, and his most favorite, the "Connie" C-121 Constellation. Russ has flown more than 190 types of aircraft and logged at least 14,800 flying hours in his lifetime. He held several Flight Ratings including Commercial Airline Transport (ATP) Multi-engine ratings including: DC8, B-727, L-1049, NA-265, Saberliner 40/60, and Metroliner- SA 227, and Helicopter, and Sea Plane Ratings.
Russell was a United States Air Force veteran (1967-1972), having served in Vietnam from July 1969 to July 1970. He has
received the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
When Russ was no longer able to fly due to insulin-dependent diabetes, he joined his wife Marge with her Mission work in foreign countries earning recognition awards for his work in the Pharmacy. He went on many Mission trips, the most to Belize, where he formed bonds with friends who became
family. He never made it to Zambia, but they too, are family to him. The list of Russ's world travels and friendships was
extensive, but suffice it to say, he was very well loved.
His flight recognition awards include the 1995 Freedom Transcontinental Flight with him as pilot in command in the
"Connie" and in 1998 he along with his wife participated in the Connie Tour in Europe to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. It was a tour of a lifetime from which
Russell made many more lifetime friends. He has also received the EAA recognition award for senior warbird aviator.
He was a member of the U.S. Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Triumph of Flight- Wright Image Group, attn: Joe Lehman 937-760-8095; or any Aviation museum of your choice; or the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, where he was a volunteer from 2016-2018 at Meowza Boutique at the Dayton Mall.
A celebration of life service will be held at a local airport in the future.