Saturday, July 28, 2001


Former senator’s life
spent helping others

The former executive at Hawaiian Tel
wore many hats, but he always helped people


By B.J. Reyes

J. Ward Russell, a former state senator and Hawaiian Telephone Co. executive who was active in various community organizations, has died. He was 84.

Russell died July 23 at One Kalakaua Senior Living in Honolulu, said his cousin Joy Woolaway.

"He was the most kind, sweet, generous, most lovable man," Woolaway said. "We questioned if he ever slept because of all the activities he was involved in."

Russell retired from Hawaiian Tel in 1979 after 46 years with the company.

A member of the territorial Legislature from 1951 to 1954 and again from 1956 to 1959, Russell served as a state senator from 1959 to 1963.

Throughout his life he was active in community service, taking on leadership roles in at least 25 service and civic organizations, including Friends of Iolani Palace, the Hawaii Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, the Honolulu Community Theatre, the Downtown Improvement Association and the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association.

Born in Hilo, he graduated from Punahou School in 1933 and later served as a president and board member of the Punahou Alumni Association.

He received the group's highest honor, the "O" in Life, in 1982, in recognition of his community service.

A longtime active member of the Republican Party, he was asked to run for mayor in 1976 but declined.

Russell is survived by Woolaway and her brother, Stanley; first cousin Jane Bray and her daughter, Sila; and cousins Carroll Smith Coke and Kihei DeSilva.

A memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 8 at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu, with scattering of ashes scheduled for the following day at 8:30 a.m. at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

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