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SGM Robert E. Russell, USA, Retired

Robert E. Russell was born on April 29, 1949 in Columbia, South Carolina. He lived in Columbia with his grandmother, Emily Russell, until age eight when he moved to Washington, DC to be with his mother and five siblings: Cortez Fletcher, Jr., Emily Michelle Fletcher, Anthony Fletcher, Michael Fletcher and Melanie Fletcher. The oldest of the group, Robert helped his parents to raise his brothers and sisters. Until his death, Robert was regarded as a “father figure” to his siblings. They relied upon him heavily for moral, intellectual and financial support. He never let them down. Shortly after the death of his stepfather, Cortez Fletcher, in 1997, Robert’s mother, Mildred Fletcher, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Until his death, Robert provided financial and moral assistance to his mother and favorite sister, Michelle. Every day he took his mother to The Downtown Cluster Geriatric Day Care Center and was loved by all of the workers there. 

Robert and Teresa Russell met at Teresa’s surprise 16th birthday party. Robert was an uninvited guest. When Teresa noticed him looking through a stack of her 45-rpm records, she asked Robert what he was doing. He calmly placed “Ooh Baby, Baby” by Smokie Robinson on the phonograph and said... “I’m dancing with you.” From that moment on, the two were inseparable. Robert and Teresa were married four years later in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where Teresa was attending college at Iowa Wesleyan College. Several months later, Robert, who had enlisted in the U.S. Army, left for his first tour in Germany. 

After 23 years of military service, where he served two tours in Germany, one tour in Korea, and one tour in Belgium, Robert retired from active duty as an E-9, Sergeant Major, in April 1993, and entered into the civilian Federal Government service as a budget analyst. Shortly before his death he was promoted to the position of supervisory budget analyst. 

Robert and Teresa purchased a 17-room, historical home in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Robert was a self-trained renovation expert (as he liked to claim). Over a 14-year period, he transformed the old farmhouse into a beautiful home for his family. 

Robert can best be remembered for his calm, analytical personality. He was a source of constant comfort and counsel to his numerous friends and relatives. But his major contribution to all who knew him were his great culinary skills. His “Hershey Pound Cake” and pineapple ice cream were in constant demand. His family and Teresa’s family spent every holiday at the Russell home, primarily because they knew “Bobby” was cooking. 

The weekend before his death, his entire office attended a crab feast at the Russell home. They were celebrating the end of the fiscal-year budget completion. Tragically, every person that attended that party was involved in the Pentagon explosion, and are currently missing. 

Robert was an exceptional, reliable, loving and generous grandfather, father, husband and friend. His three children and seven grandchildren will feel his loss forever. His wife, Teresa, will forever feel his love.
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