He formed Stewart Producers, Inc. in 1951, as a production operations company which diversified into oil well servicing in 1966. Always vitally interested in best business practices and new technology, he was a 60 year member of the Illinois Oil and Gas Association, held several offices and was awarded their highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2001. He was a member of the Independent Producers Association of America and served as a representative for the Illinois Basin in the 1960s.
J. Russell was an active member of the first United Methodist Church for over 50 years and rarely missed a Sunday. He served on the Southern Illinois Finance Committee for three terms, was a past president of the Methodist Men and served on the Executive Board and Board of Trustees.
Russell enjoyed golfing, swimming, Cardinal baseball and college football. He liked playing cards and games and, along with Belle, enjoyed these activities with family and friends. He was an avid reader, particularly history and sports.
He believed in community service and served as a director on several boards: District 80 Board of Education for nine years (two as president), the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Vernon Housing Authority, Boys Scouts of America and Green Hills Country Club. He was a lifetime member of the Elks and Mitchell Museum and was an active member of the Mt. Vernon rotary club and Paul Harris Society.
Russ lived a very full life and was blessed in many ways. However, his greatest joy in life was his family. He and Belle enjoyed 63 years of wonderful marriage. They shared a common love for family, home and church. They enjoyed entertaining in their home and loved to travel the United States and abroad.
Russell loved life and had the wonderful ability to make all people feel appreciated. He will be truly missed by family and friends.