Our beloved Robert Samuel Russell was born in Ulster Spring, Trelawney Parish, Jamaica, West Indies to his loving mother the late Maudlin Matilda McFarlane and father the late Robert William Russell on September 18, 1929. He was the first-born child of his siblings: the late Maudlin Matilda McEwan and the late Vincent Russell. It is difficult to put into words how much he meant to us all and how much we will miss him. During his childhood, Robert Russell attended Beulah Tabernacle Church in Long Bay, Jamaica with his mother and younger siblings. His father—Dadda Russell pastored this church which still stands today.
Sam —as he was so affectionately known to family and friends — was a cherished husband, caring father, faithful brother, devoted grandfather, beloved uncle, dear friend, and so much more. Sam loved life. When he smiled, he radiated the room. When he was cross, the room got very quiet. When he cooked a meal, he did it with enthusiasm and precision. When he laughed, he with-held no joy. When he sang, he sang with style and beauty. When he spoke, his sultry voice lured you into the conversation. A man of both great musical talent and vogue style, he showed up and showed out. Sam was a “regular”—trust-worthy and down-to-earth in a real world. To put it simply, Sam is irreplaceable.
Sam loved life. He was a man of soul. Sam’s favorite genres of music were Jazz and Gospel. Sitting with him in his music room—watching him sing, scat and dance was like being in a live concert audience listening to the greats like Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and many more. Towards the end of his life, Sam, who was a life-long learner, furthered his education at Central Alabama Community College, where he pursued American Studies, English and Math.
Sam also loved family. In 1969, a good friend introduced him to Jewel Black-Greer in Rochester, New York. They were married on July 22, 1970. This July, Sam and Jewel would have celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. Sam will be fondly remembered by his wife Jewel and his three amazing children, Norma, Anthony and Beverley. He will be lovingly missed by his grandchildren, great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews residing in the USA, United Kingdom and Canada. Sam now rests peacefully with his eternal Maker. We will never forget him but always remember him as a great friend and man of God.