W. Russell Withers, Jr., 77, of Mt. Vernon, died Jan. 24, 2014, in Mt. Vernon.
He was born Dec. 10, 1936, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., the son of W.R. Withers, Sr. and Ruth H. Withers.
He founded Withers Broadcasting Companies. Mr. Withers was a member of Mt. Vernon Masonic Lodge 31; Scottish Rites/Valley of Southern Illinois in Belleville; Jefferson County Shrine Club of Mt. Vernon, Shrine International - AINAD, AINAD Shrine Center, East St. Louis; a board member of Mt. Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau; board member and one of the founders of Crime Stoppers of Jefferson County; chairman of the Mt. Vernon Airport Authority; chairman of the Illinois Public Airport Association; board member of the Mt. Vernon Industrial Development Commission; Mt. Vernon Citizen of the Year, 1992; National Association of Broadcasters where he was a board member of the radio board representing Illinois, member of the executive committee and co-chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters Political Action Committee (NABPAC) a national trustee for NABPAC for the past 20 years, NABPAC leading fundraiser and recipient of the Wally Jorgensen Award for the past 11 years and member of the Congressional Relations Committee; Radio Board chairman, National Association of Broadcasting; board member, Library of American Broadcasting; 2003 American Broadcast Pioneer Award winners by The Broadcasters Foundation; board member of the Associated Press Broadcast Board; board member of SAGA Communications since May 2011, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.; Lincoln Academy of Illinois in Springfield, where he was a member of the board of trustees since 1993 and elected Regent by the board in 1998; board member of Redlands Water and Power, Grand Junction, Colo.; executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America for Western Colorado; Who’s Who in Finance and Industry; Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who in the World; Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association, 2005; chairman of the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation; Broadcaster of the Year by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Heritage Award winner, Jefferson County African American Heritage Committee; board member, Radio Music License Committee; Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Merit Award recipient, 2007; Sigma Chi Fraternity distinguished Significant Sig Award, 2011; and Honor of Order of Lincoln, Illinois’ highest honor for professional accomplishments and public service.
Mr. Withers is survived by his daughter, Dana R. Withers of Mt. Vernon; stepson, David Lister of Mt. Vernon; stepdaughters, Diana Lister of Nashville, Tenn. and Celeste Hunt of Beaufort, S.C.; a sister, Lindi W. Janes of Cape Girardeau, Mo.; brothers, Richard Kent Withers of Cape Girardeau, Mo., James K. Withers and wife Pam Withers of Keokuk, Iowa and William J. Withers and wife Victoria Withers of Theodore, Ala.
He was preceded in death by his father, W.R. Withers Sr. and mother, Ruth H. Withers.
Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. today at Hughey Funeral Home. Interment will be at Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.
Visitation was held from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at Hughey Funeral Home.
For those who wish, memorials may be given to the W. Russell Withers Jr. Scholarship Fund at Southern Illinois University and will be accepted at the funeral home or may be mailed to Hughey Funeral Home, P.O. Box 721, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Hughey Funeral Home where you may call 242-3348 or visit www.hugheyfuneralhome1969.com for further information and to send condolences.