Russell Franklin Blake
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Russell Franklin Blake
  • May 14, 1934 - January 10, 2017
  • Phoenix, Arizona

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Blake, Russell F., 82, of Phoenix, AZ, was called to heaven on January 10, 2017. Russell was born in Picher, OK on May 14, 1934. Russell is preceded in death by his father Charles Blake, mother Juanita O'Dell, and stepfather Frank O'Dell. Russell is survived by his loving wife of 53 years Mary A. Blake, children, oldest to youngest, Debra Blake, Charles (Julie) Blake, and Kathryn (Chuck) Joy, six grandchildren Billy Little, Sarah Little, Emily Joy, Josh Joy, Carolyn Blake, and Ryan Blake, and many nieces and nephews. Russell's beloved brothers Jack (Rebecca) Blake, Paul (Bernice) O'Dell, and Jim (Andi) O'Dell also survive him in warmest regard.
Russell moved to Arizona in 1936 when his mining engineer father went to work at the Boriana Mine, near Kingman. Russell's father would die tragically in a mining accident and soon after Juanita moved the family to Phoenix where Russell would spend the rest of his life. Russell began his career at Phoenix Newspapers, Inc. (PNI), the company that publishes The Arizona Republic, on Christmas Eve 1952 while attending West High School, where he graduated from in May 1953. His career was interrupted when he was drafted into the U. S. Army in June 1953. He served two years active service and two years reserve service to our great country. The newspaper, during Russell's absence, kept his position open. Upon discharge from the army, Russell rejoined the company and continued to work there a total of 42 years until retirement. Late in Russell's career at the newspaper, he was credited with bringing the press layout process into the computer age.
Earlier in Russell's life he was a pilot and loved flying with his brothers and the love of his life, Mary. Russell and Mary were married in 1963 and soon started a family. Russell continued his education, graduating from Phoenix College in 1967 and Arizona State University with a BA in Education in 1971.
Russell was a devoted husband and father, always focusing on providing for his family which included taking them on many memorable trips. During one of their vacations to Ocean Beach, San Diego, on August 19, 1967, a 19 year old woman serving in the Navy WAVES was caught up in a rip current and drowning. Russell, without hesitation, swam out to the girl and brought her back to shore safely. The San Diego Chief of Police later wrote Russell a letter commending his 'timely action in saving the nearly drowned girl'.
Russell, Mary, and many family members eventually constructed a home, on property they purchased, in Humboldt, AZ. This second home would provide a permanent getaway from the city and desert heat. Russell loved this place so much that he spent most of his later years improving the acreage by landscaping the property with his tractor and planting many trees. Russell spent as much time as possible in Humboldt enjoying many memorable times with his family there.
All family and friends are invited to attend Russell's visitation at 11:00 am and memorial service at 12:00 pm on Monday, January 16, 2017, at A. L. Moore Grimshaw Mortuary at 710 West Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Cornerstone Baptist Church located at 4220 N. Sierra Rd., Kingman, AZ 86409.