Walter Richard Russell
February 2, 1925 ~ October 20, 2014
Resided in: Candler, NC
Walter Richard Russell, 89, went home to be with the Lord on October 20, 2014. Born in Memphis, TN, his family moved to Candler, NC when he was a baby. He grew up in Candler, was a member of Francis Asbury UMC, and was a graduate of Candler High School. Walter attended N.C. State University, worked in the defense industry at the Newport News Shipyard, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was a veteran of World War II, serving as Staff Sergeant in the 1523rd Engineers in Europe, the Rhineland, Central Europe, and the Philippines. Following WWII, he re-entered N.C. State, and was graduated Summa Cum Laude in Aeronautical Engineering. He and several of his classmates went to work at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA as employees of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (which became NASA in 1958). He worked on research and development of the X-15 rocket plane, as well as research on aircraft control dynamics. When the USA entered the space race, Walter moved along with a group of engineers from Langley to Houston, TX in 1962, in preparation for the Manned Spacecraft Center opening in 1964. He spent the remainder of his career as an engineer with NASA, where he was involved in every major development of the US space program. He was preceded in death by his parents, John William (Bill) Russell, Sr. and Frances Willard (Willie) Hively Russell; and his brother, John William Russell, Jr. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Marjorie Duranso Russell; nephew, John William Russell, III; nephew, Walter Gordon Russell(Cathy); great-nephew, John W. Russell, IV (Candie); great-niece, Jennalee R. Sexton (Mike); great-nephew, Zachary R. Russell (Promise); great-niece, Tiffany F. Burris(David); 7 great-great nephews; 1 great-great niece; and many friends in North Carolina and Texas. The family is eternally grateful to his friends and backyard neighbors of 25 years, Julie and David Bryce, who were angels to Walter and the long-distance family by sharing their love and friendship, home cooking, and assistance with medical appointments and care during a long illness. A memorial service will be held at Francis Asbury United Methodist Church, 725 Asbury Road, Candler, NC on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The family will receive friends at the church at 2:00 PM, with the service at 3:00 PM. A graveside service will follow at the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Francis Asbury UMC, P.O. Box 67, Candler, NC 28715 (www.faumc.com), or to the charity of their choice. The family thanks Francis Asbury UMC and Groce Funeral Home in Asheville for their assistance.