Michael S. “Mike” Russell

Michael Sean Russell passed away peacefully in Lansing, MI, on June 12, 2022, at the age of 80 after a short battle with thyroid cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones during the final days of his life.

Mike is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Kathleen Russell of Holt, MI; children Laura (Joshua) Mikrut of Wyoming, MI and Steven Russell of Holt, MI; granddaughters Julia, Noelle, and Natalie Mikrut; siblings Margaret (Court) Clara of Thornton, CO, Katie Russell-Tus (Celal Tus) of Rochester Hills, MI, and Terrence (Elizabeth) Russell of Spokane, WA; sisters-in-law, Karen Bitter of Sterling Heights, MI and Candace (James) Beitman of Noblesville, IN; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Winifred Russell; his brother, Brian Russell; and his in-laws, A.W. and Phyllis Chipman.

Mike was born on August 27, 1941, in Rochester, MI, to Raymond and Winifred Russell, the oldest of five children. He was a longtime Boy Scout and was a graduate of Rochester High School and Ferris State University. Mike completed four years of service in the United States Navy and spent his career as a Property and Casualty Underwriter for various insurance companies. He married Kathy Chipman in 1973 after meeting through mutual friends in the Detroit area. Mike and Kathy enjoyed traveling early in their marriage and lived in Nashville, TN and Indianapolis, IN before settling in Traverse City, MI, where their children Laura and Steve were born. The family eventually relocated to Holt, MI, where Mike lived the remainder of his life.

Mike was an active and longtime member of Holt United Methodist Church and served in many areas of church life over the years. He also volunteered with Steve’s Boy Scout troop, was involved with local chapters of Toastmasters International, and was an election worker at his polling precinct. He was involved with the Maritime Historical Society during his time in Traverse City, and like his father and brothers he operated a mail-order antiquarian book business. Mike was passionate about Naval and maritime history and had an illustrious collection of books. He was an avid reader and was a particular fan of Tom Clancy. He enjoyed sailing and camping with his family and loved classical music and the classical guitar. Mike also developed a deep interest in genealogy and was able to track down elusive family connections, building off his father-in-law’s previous work. Mike was also a devoted Detroit Tigers and MSU football and basketball fan.

Above all, Mike was a man of unflinching integrity, humility, and selflessness. He was an affectionate husband, father, and grandfather and loved finding ways to make his loved ones laugh. He had a knack for finding thoughtful and humorous gifts for the people he cared about and loved sending amusing newspaper clippings and Facebook posts. He especially enjoyed surprising Kathy with meaningful gifts. Mike was a very involved and supportive father, driving his children to countless early-morning swim practices, clarinet lessons, Special Olympics competitions, and faithfully attending swim meets and marching band performances. He accompanied Laura and Steve on several youth mission trips to Kentucky. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, particularly taking Julia to McDonalds and giving Noelle and Natalie rides on his walker. The girls loved FaceTiming with their Grandpa during the past two years when in-person visits were more difficult to come by.

A visitation is scheduled for Thursday, July 28, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at Holt United Methodist Church followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. with a luncheon to follow. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Mike’s life. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Mike’s name to Rainbow Homes of Holt and Holt United Methodist Church.

The family would like to thank the nurses and staff (particularly Michelle, Carrie, and Rachael) of the McLaren Greater Lansing Critical Care Unit for their exceptional care of Mike and the family in the final week of his life. The family also extends appreciation to the Mike’s physicians and other staff at University of Michigan Hospital for their expertise and care. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Holt/Delhi Chapel.

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Margo Ross
June 28, 2022 at 2:14 pm

Beautiful write up Steve. I’m very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you Kathy, Laura, Steve and all other family and friends. I’m impressed by such a wonderful family you were and still are. I will try to attend.

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