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Kenneth C. Russell

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Pages 277-278

Kenneth " C " Russell was born in Provo, Utah on January 11, 1912 to William Frances Russell and Mary Ellen Criddle. His family moved to Taber then to Barnwell and on to Lethbridge. He received his schooling in each place graduating from Grade twelve in Lethbridge. He took his Normal School training in Calgary in 1930. Upon graduating he taught at New Home (Manyberries area). In September 1932 at age 20, he became principal of the Picture Butte School. In 1935 he went to teach at Tyrrel's Lake School and stayed there for two years. In 1955 he started teaching at Coalhurst High School - a couple of years later he became principal of the Coalhurst Elementary School. He remained there until his retirement in 1977.

Education was important to him - he worked hard to earn his degree by going to night school and summer school - while at the same time he had seven children to support, was farming and teaching full time. This imposed a great hardship on his family and he decided that his family was more important than a masters degree and so declined the opportunity to further his career.

He encouraged his children to further their education and was proud of their achievements. His concern for taking full advantage of educational opportunities extended to others as well as his own children. One young student was not working to her full potential. He called her in and talked to her. The girl realized her abilities and became an honor student. He cared deeply for all of his students and strived diligently to help them learn.

On one particular occasion a new first grader wouldn't get off the bus. He got on the bus and asked the little girl "Do you remember me?" the little girl nodded yes. "Then, will you come with me? he asked. The little girl shook her head no. "Then I will carry you". He not only carried her into the school - but all day long as well. School was important but it was also to be enjoyed. One of his traditions was the "Birthday Spankings" delivered to "Un-Willing" birthday persons. The usual counting went something like this: "one - One and a quarter - one and a half, wait - how old did you say you were? - Oh, 0. K. one - one and half - two - now you can't be that old - one, two and so the count went on. It was a real tragedy to miss "Birthday Spankings" from Mr. Russell.

He taught the students that Canadian citizenship was important and that being a member of the community brought the responsibility of loyalty and service.

Although he lived in Diamond City he shared a deep concern for Coalhurst and community and was caught up in their lives.

He was a noted runner in his younger days and was always interested in sports.

In the summer of 1929 he was one of two King Scouts (from Alberta) chosen to go to the first international scout jamboree in England. His scouting was an integal part of his life. He received his Gilwell beads from Melvin J. Ballard. He was also adopted into an Indian tribe while in Glacier National Parks building trails with a selected group of scouts (about 1930 or 31). He spent many years as a scout leader.

He bought his first farm in 1937 - while farming it he helped with his father's farm - he later bought it in 1949.

He served on community committees as well as serving in his church. Some of the positions he held in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were: Bishop, Bishop's counselor, clerk, and Sunday School teacher.

In 1941 he married and had seven children.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup