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William Paul Russell

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 William Paul Russell

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Born Nov. 25, 1942 Paget, Bermuda Died Aug. 15, 2023 Santa Fe, New Mexico Details of services A celebration of his life will be announced. In lieu of flowers, please send any contributions to the Vermont Food Bank or to the Curtis Pond Association. William Paul Russell, “Bill”, 80, of Calais, VT and Santa Fe, NM, died August 15, 2023, in Santa Fe, New Mexico after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Bill was born in Paget, Bermuda on November 25, 1942 to Margaret Colvin Scott and John James Russell, who was serving in the Royal Canadian Navy at the time.

His family emigrated from Toronto, Canada to the United States in 1946 to settle in Des Plaines, Illinois, where Bill and his older sister, Mary and younger brother, Alan, were raised. Bill participated as a cross- country runner, violinist, singer, and formed a rock-n-roll band while attending Maine Township High School, class of 1960. Bill graduated from Cornell University in 1964 with a BA in Philosophy, and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Bill later attended Michigan Law School and Georgetown Law School, completing his law degree with night classes while working on Capitol Hill during the day. During Bill’s years on Capitol Hill, he met and married Maureen Warren (of Birmingham, England) on November 11, 1967. In 1971, Bill took the position as Chief of the Legislative Council for the State of Vermont and relocated with his family to Maple Corner (Calais), Vermont.

Bill had a long and respected career with the state; one which began as the sole legal counsel and grew to see him as the leader of a large legal team, where he guided and crafted many of Vermont’s laws over the next 36 years. In the early 1980’s Bill and Maureen co-founded ASHTEK Properties, with friends and business partners Patrick and Heather Henry.

This partnership led to the development, creation and operation of The Inn at Montpelier (Montpelier, VT) from 1988 to 2000. For several decades, Bill was also a professor of Constitutional Law and Legislation at Vermont Law School, and participated in and then chaired the National Conference of State Legislatures (1990 —1991) which offered him a chance to travel to many US cities and visit places like Germany, France, and Siberia as a US diplomat. Bill’s legacy is largely felt in the town of Calais, Vermont, Maple Corner specifically.

Bill and his family relocated to Calais in 1971 where he is fondly remembered for his deep friendships, generous spirit, sense of humor, and balanced demeanor. Bill’s passion for community could be seen in many ways in Calais; as Town Meeting moderator, school board member and chairman, initiator of the Curtis Pond swimming program, a regular singer in the Old West Church Christmas Choir, an exuberant volleyball player, and avid supporter of the Maple Corner Store. With his wife Maureen, Bill learned to work the land as he embraced chainsaws, barn building, snow removal, brush burning and ‘tractors.’ Bill and Maureen created a small sheep farm on the mountain top, and later placed the Calais property in conservation with the Vermont Land Trust.

Bill was also an avid musician and great appreciator of music, with bandmates near and far. As a lifelong athlete, a runner and a hockey player, he spent his later years biking the back roads and hiking many miles on the mountain trail system that he helped create with friends and neighbors, adding miles to the Calais Trail System. Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, and immersed himself in that community too.

His Parkinson’s movement and support group involvement started in Montpelier in 2017 with dance, boxing and Rob Mermin’s Pantomime for Parkinson’s group. When he relocated to New Mexico in the autumn of 2019, he resumed boxing with the POP Santa Fe, part of the National Punching Out Parkinson’s organization. Bill relocated to Santa Fe in 2019 with his wife Maureen, and his final years were spent with Maureen and Kate, staying busy playing the piano, avidly reading history books, exercising in the park, going to boxing class, being loved by his cats and basking in the warm sunshine of the Southwest. He leaves behind Maureen Rosita Russell, his wife of 55 years, his daughters, Sarah Russell of Calais, VT and Kate Russell of Santa Fe, NM, and his sister Mary Drake of Mystic, CT.

He is predeceased by his brother, Alan Russell of Phoenix, Arizona.

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