April 22, 1932 — May 12, 2013
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Big R passed away Sunday, May 12, 2013, with his family by his side. He had been battling lung cancer for the past nine months. He is survived by his son, Scott Russell and daughter-in-law Kami Arnold of Diamond Springs; daughter, Sheri Duncan of Pollock Pines; son, Brent Russell of Pollock Pines; son, David Russell of Placerville; grandchildren, Austin, Kylie, Taylor, Jordyn, Dustin, Ryan and Brandy; and four great-grandchildren; as well as his younger brother, Howard Russell of Skowhegan, Maine. He was preceded in death by his son, Cary Russell.
Big R was born in New Bedford, Mass., to Clint and Gladys Russell. He grew up on a dairy farm and at age 17 enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was a Korean War veteran and fought with the 981st Artillery Division, where he was presented a bronze star. Upon returning from the war, he went to work as an auto mechanic. In 1960 he moved to Placerville, Calif., where he opened a service station. He owned and operated many businesses over the years. The latest business he owned and operated was Big R Automotive in Placerville, which he had for more than 20 years.
Big R loved the outdoors, hunting, woodcutting, gardening, sightseeing and auto racing. You would often see him at Union Mine High School cheering his grandkids on as they played sports. He enjoyed visiting with whoever would listen.
A celebration of life will be held at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 1, from 12 to 3 p.m., in the Corker Building (near the main lawn).