Portrait of Jim Russell in 1964(Darlene (Miller) Danner wrote the following tribute to her late husband, Jim Russell, on June 14, 2009 – the 20th anniversary of the day he went to be with the Lord:)

Darlene (Miller-Russell) Danner

Jim was born on October 14, 1942 in Newfoundland, Canada to loving parents, Edna and Victor Russell.  Later, a sister, Joan, and a brother, Lindy, joined the family. All three eventually became alumni of Northwest University (then Northwest College) where I also met Jim in the fall of 1962 during my senior year.  (Although Jim and I both graduated from high school in 1959, he waited a few years to begin college.  Click the link below to read what he did during those years, and the story of how he came to receive Christ as his personal Savior, and how God led him to Northwest College).

Jim's Testimony
Jim & Darlene's engagement picture 1964
Jim enjoyed his college years, especially being on a gospel team, and he cherished the life-long friends he made.  Those of you who knew Jim well in those days must smile as you remember some of the things he did.  Jim had a great sense of humor and was adventuresome as well as fun-loving.  He enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.  He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter.  He especially enjoyed fishing and water sports.  He said, “I became captivated with the salt water as a child, especially when I was old enough to take the boat out and, years later, after moving to Washington, I had the opportunity to learn how to scuba dive.  That sure made things easier because of my fascination with what is on the bottom of the ocean.”  He also liked to water ski and snow ski and ice skate.  When he was young, he enjoyed playing ice hockey.  In addition, he enjoyed indoor games, especially Scrabble, and liked to read.

Photo of Jim Russell in Newfoundland, Canada 1962Jim and I were married on September 11, 1964 and had nearly 25 happily married years together before God took him to his heavenly home.  The Lord blessed our marriage with two daughters, Melody and Mindy, and Jim was a devoted husband and wonderful father.  I teased him about Melody being his graduation present since she was born shortly after he received his B.A. in Theology in 1966.  He then became a licensed Assemblies of God minister and his first position was serving as assistant pastor to Rev. Phil Wayman when he was in Kenmore, WA. About a year later, we moved to Idaho when Jim accepted a call to serve as senior pastor of the Assembly of God in Council.  The congregation could not support us and he became a substitute school teacher and also a logger while I worked in the local bank.  However, before we found work, the Lord miraculously supplied our needs.  [Click here to read about that miracle].  We learned to trust God more than ever before and found Him always faithful.  

Picture of the Jim Russell family in 1988Before long, Jim realized his need for further education and we were led by God to return to Washington so he could pursue a second degree – this time in Psychology and Counseling – from Seattle Pacific University.  While attending SPU, Jim also volunteered as a counselor at Seattle Teen Challenge and later served as director of another Teen Challenge Center.  After being ordained by the General Council of the Assemblies of God, he served as senior pastor of three churches in the Northwest District as well as being involved in other ministries during the remaining years of his life.  Between pastorates, he had various jobs including sale’s positions, landscaping and carpenter work, but always his greatest passion was being a servant leader and ministering to others.  

As I reflect on Jim’s life and ministry, I believe the word that defines him best is “loving”.   He truly loved God with all of his heart, loved his family and friends dearly and always strove to love his neighbor as himself.  Also, I Corinthians 13 was his favorite chapter of the Bible.  In addition to being loving, Jim was one of the most giving and forgiving people I have known.  Off and on, we opened our hearts and home to foster kids until they could return to their own families, but Jim never would accept pay because he didn't want them to think we were doing it for money or for any other reason except out of love for them.

Picture of Jim Russell's GrandkidsGod used Jim to win others for Him and this had a ripple effect.  One example is when Bob, an officer in the Coast Guard who was one of Jim’s converts, was transferred to another city and invited us to spend a holiday week-end with them.  A young man named John was also there and Jim and Bob led him to the Lord.  God called John into the ministry and Jim recommended Northwest College to him.  He and his wife then became Assemblies of God ministers and missionaries and have won many others to Christ.  This is only one illustration of how God used Jim to bless and make a difference in the lives of others and they, in turn, did the same.
It was a shock when we learned in 1988 that Jim had terminal cancer. His attitude was amazing and he prayed, “I would like to be healed more than anything.  I love my family and I want to be with them, but the greatest thing is to submit to your will.”  A few months before he died, he told us how God revealed to him a little bit of the glories of Heaven and being with Jesus, and how beautiful it was going to be.  He went to be with Him on June 14, 1989.  

Since his death, our daughters have grown up and are also alumni of NU, as well as other universities.  Jim would be proud to know, and perhaps does, what lovely and intelligent businesswomen they have become.  Also, he would adore our grandchildren as I do. Selina (13), Adriana (11) and Sergio (7) enjoy hearing about their Grandpa Jim’s experiences.  Also, Joan’s grandchildren love hearing and telling Uncle Jim stories. The legacy of his undying love lives on.

Note: After Jim died, Darlene accepted employment at Northwest University as Secretary to the President (then Denny Davis).  She resigned in the fall of 1991 after marrying Ed Danner, a widower with four grown daughters.  [Two of them, Patricia and Sandra are alumni of NU].  The Danners enjoy their blended family of 6 daughters, sons-in-law and 11 grandchildren.   Also, they have two little dogs they enjoy.  Darlene has  furthered her education and earned an M.A. degree in Social Science/Leadership Studies and a Ph.D in Biblical Counseling.  She is presently an adjunct faculty member of Global University.  The Danners have also served as Missionary Associates in several countries on a short-term basis.  When in the States,  they divide up their time between homes in Port Angeles, WA and Lake Havasu City, AZ.  Darlene’s e-mail address is dannerdarlene@gmail.com and she would enjoy hearing from former classmates and other friends.