Dr. Joseph E. (Doc) Russell

Dr. Joseph E. (Doc) Russell, a well-loved physician who practiced family medicine in Delhi and Western Hills, Ohio, for more than 35 years, passed away in his Cincinnati home on Oct. 22, 2008, after an extended battle with cancer. He was 78 years old.

Dr. Russell is remembered with love and affection not only by his family, but by his patients and friends as well.

The product of a farmboy upbringing in 1930s Wisconsin, "Dad was a wonderful mixture of practicality, warmth and generosity," said his oldest son, Michael Russell. "Even after he’d been retired for years, former patients and their families would stop him in the grocery store to remind him of when and how he’d helped them in some way, either as a doctor or as a friend."

Born on Nov. 30, 1929, and raised on a farm in Hartford, Dr. Russell would tell of getting up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows so that he could also play on the Hartford Union High School football team. This combination of dogged determination and hard work that so defined his character ultimately led him through college and medical school to Cincinnati and a flourishing family medical practice.

Daughter Michelle (Puttmann) remembers "watching Dad in his office, I marveled at his ability to dispense humor, compassion and medicine all at the same time."

Added close family friend Don Schmitt, "Joe’s patients were always talking about how caring and interested he was in their overall well being, beyond just treating their medical needs."

Despite his success and accomplishments as a physician, one of Dr. Russell’s favorite memories was his stint, between his high school and college, teaching eight grades at the same time in a one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin.

"He was just so genuine, and that came across to everyone who met him." said his daughter Karen (Schenck).

Dr. Russell’s life changed dramatically when his high school coach, Ned Wulk, became freshman football coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati and offered Joe the opportunity to go back to school and play football on full scholarship while earning a degree in pre-med.

One of the highlights of Joe’s football career was when XU defeated the University of Louisville despite the fact that eventual pro football legend Johnny Unitas was U of L’s quarterback at the time.

Doc met the love of his life, June Murrison, in his senior year at Xavier.

They married in 1956, and in their 52 years together were blessed with six children and 11 grandchildren.

"One of Dad’s greatest pleasures was sitting around with family and friends, having a beer and sharing stories and a few laughs," added his son Michael.

Dr. Russell attended medical school at St. Louis University and interned at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cincinnati. He was on the staff of the former St. Francis Hospital for 35 years, and also served on the board for a number of years.

In the first seven years of his career, he delivered babies at Good Samaritan Hospital.

In addition to his wife, June; and children, Mike, Michelle and Karen, Dr. Russell is survived by son, Joseph; and daughters, Deborah Russell and Kelly (Jones).

Also survived by sisters, Mary A. (Arthur) Sundeen, Ruth (John) Spielmann and Jean (Ronald) Schlitt.

Preceded in death by his parents, Erwin A. Russell and Hilda A. (Fox) Russell; and a brother, Patrick J. Russell.

Visitation is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Antoninus Church, 1500 Linneman Road, Western Hills, Ohio. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m. with a reception immediately after.

Burial will be at St. Joseph New Cemetery in Cincinnati.

Memorial donations can be made to the Carmelite Friars OCD, Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus, WI 53033, or the charity of the donor’s choice.

The Ralph Meyer & Deters Funeral Home Inc., 4164 W. Eighth St., Cincinnati, OH 45205, is assisting the family. www.rmdfuneralhome.com.