James Brian Russell

LEETONIA — James Brian Russell, 62, of Leetonia, Ohio went home to be with God Feb. 15, 2021 while on vacation in Arizona. Per his request, Brian was cremated in Arizona. A celebration of his life is planned for 11 a.m. April 17, 2021 at The First Friends Church in Salem, Ohio, where Brian was an active member. A light lunch will follow.

Brian was born Oct. 5, 1958 in East Liverpool, Ohio, the son of Jerry and Helen Russell. Brian grew up in southern Ohio and graduated from Belpre High School in 1977 and attended Marietta College. Throughout his life, Brian worked for many years as a butcher at a family-owned business, and then worked until his retirement at NRG Energy/Clearway Energy in Pittsburgh, Pa. Brian married his wife Linda S. (Rassman) March 6, 1999.

Brian loved the outdoors, enjoyed fishing and hunting, and always loved to visit near a bonfire. Brian spent the last several winters enjoying the deserts of Arizona and the beauty of Mexico while camping with his wife. He looked forward to his annual hunting trips with his brothers-in-law and other family members (even if they rarely got a deer!). He was an avid Steelers and Pirates fan, and he was often seen in his Pirates team hats and shirts. Brian may have been happiest when he spent time at the family farm — where he set up blinds for hunting, took family on hayrides and spent time outdoors. Through the grace of God and the support of Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery, Brian celebrated 29 years of sobriety as a recovering alcoholic, and he overcame cancer four times over a nine-year period. Although he had many health issues resulting from his cancer treatment, he pushed through with a smile on his face and a willingness to always help others in need.

Brian is survived by his wife of 21 years, Linda S. Russell of Leetonia; his parents, who reside in Belpre, Ohio; sister Amy Russell of Belpre, Ohio; brother Doug Russell of Wellsville, Ohio; sister-in-law Katherine Williamson; sister-in-law Brenda Stryffeler (David); sister-in-law Mary Dicken (Ron); brother-in-law John Rassman (Amy); brother-in-law James Rassman (Serlene); stepdaughter Teresa Peck (Chuck); stepson Chad Hawkins; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Brian will forever be remembered for his sense of humor and his smile.

Per Brian’s request, in honor of his memory, Brian would appreciate donations to First Friends Church Food Bank in Salem, Ohio.