The Man with Anointed Hands: Carl Russell, Jr. of Russell Funeral Home passed

The Man with Anointed Hands: Carl Russell, Jr. of Russell  Funeral Home passed
March 17
00:00 2016
Submitted photo
The late Carl Russell, Jr. was an important part of Russell Funeral Home, which has been run by his family for more than 75 years.



Carl Russell, Jr., known for his decades of serving families at Russell Funeral Home, was remembered at a service held at St. Peter’s World Outreach Center on Friday March 10.

Hundreds attended the funeral service for Russell, 70, who passed away on Friday, March 6. He was a master embalmer at Russell Funeral Home. His father, Carl Russell Sr., founded the funeral home in 1939 and also served as a city alderman. His moth-er, Florrie S. Russell, took over leadership of the funeral home after her husband passed in 1987 and continued to run it until she passed in 1997. Russell, Jr. has ten siblings who grew up in the family business, which also at one time provided ambulance service to the city. He was one of several members of the Russell clan who work at the funeral home, which is now run by his brother Cedric and sister, Carmen.

Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke said Russell, Jr. and his siblings have made their parents proud carrying on their family’s legacy in the funeral business. She said even from a young age, Russell Jr. had “a mind to stimulate, cultivate and motivate people.”

“Carl walked in such a strong way and if he pulled you aside, he only wanted you to be aware that you need to be moving for-ward,” she said.

Russell, Jr., an Atkins High School alumnus, went to college at his father’s alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in Ohio. He was employed by the Wake Forest Baptist Health Autopsy Department for years. His skills played a vital role in the family funeral business.

“Carl was the best,” said Cedric Russell. “He didn’t mind letting you know he was the best. He said he could take someone hit by a train and make them look like they died in their sleep.”

He said Russell, Jr. had good reason to take pride in what he did, and was very dedicated to serving families during their time of bereavement.

“He truly had anointed hands,” said Cedric Russell. “He’d go into the preparation room, he’d study the situation, he’d stay for hours if it took that because that’s how dedicated he was.”

A member of the National Funeral Directors Association and the N.C. Funeral Directors Association, he was well respected among his col-leagues in the funeral industry, many of whom were in attendance. Rep. Alma Adams, N.C. Rep. Paul Lowe, and the city of Atlanta, Ga. all sent condolences.

Rev. Steven Lyons of St. James A.M.E. Church, where Russell, Jr. was a lifelong member, said though people may think of limousines, hearses, caskets and staff dressed in nice suits when it comes to funerals, he said the embalming work that went on in “Carl’s Preparation Room” was the most important part of the funeral home.

“I believe Carl Russell gave his gift back to God and God blessed him to use that gift all the more,” said Lyons.

Russell, Jar. was a for-mer member of Ionic Lodge #72, a neighborhood watchman at Northwood Estate and an inductee in the Atkins High School Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife Sandra R. Imes-Russell, his six children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with many siblings and other relatives.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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