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Robert ‘Bob’ C. Russell, 84, Dies

Bob loved his motorcycles, and the students at Robinson loved seeing the Honda Gold Wing sitting in the principal's parking space.

Bob loved his motorcycles, and the students at Robinson loved seeing the Honda Gold Wing sitting in the principal's parking space.

Robert "Bob" C. Russell, born June 6, 1929 in Elkins, W. Va. died Sunday, June 2 in Elkins. He resided in Fairfax City for over 40 years and actively contributed to the Fairfax community for over 55 years.

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Robert “Bob” C. Russell.

Russell graduated from Elkins High School where he was active in both choral and instrumental music and was recognized for his musical abilities.

He attended Davis and Elkins College where he was one of the original pipers in the West Virginia Highlander Bag Pipe Band.

He graduated from West Virginia University in 1951 and continued his music in the United States Air Force Band stationed in Washington, D.C. where he was the tenor soloist with the famed Singing Sergeants as well as a member of the Air Force Bagpipe Band.

Upon leaving the Air Force, he entered the education profession as music teacher at Fairfax High School from 1955 to 1960.

Russell was the choir director at the Fairfax Baptist Church.

In 1960, he went into administration as assistant principal at Sidney Lanier Intermediate School.

In June 1962, Russell received his master’s degree in education from American University in Washington, D.C.

From 1962 to 1972, he was the principal at Lanier, where he began to utilize new technology including portable radios for staff communication. He developed programs and guidelines for police response to school situations including the first administrative assistants utilizing retired police officers in what has now evolved into the "School Resource Officer" (SRO) program.

From 1972 to 1973, Russell was the principal of Fairfax High School.

Then, from 1973 to 1984, he was the second principal of Robinson Secondary High School, one of the largest public high schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia; the facility is said to have 11 acres under roof. Upon his retirement, the Fairfax County School Board's "Excellentiae Gratias" resolution renamed the Little Theater of Robinson "The Robert C. Russell Theater."

In 1984, the executive committee of the Virginia High School League recognized Russell for his "distinctive service to the high schools of Virginia."

Also in 1984, Colonel Carroll Buracker, chief of Fairfax County Police Department, presented Russell with a certificate of appreciation for "superior community service in the interest of public safety."

In 1984, Russell became the superintendent of the Fairfax City School System where he monitored the terms of the agreement with Fairfax County, served as liaison between the city and the county school officials, prepared the budgets, and oversaw the schools' facility improvement programs. Russell retired from that position in 1995. He was honored twice by the Fairfax City School Board. Because of his direction of the design and construction of the Lanier Middle School theatre, the City of Fairfax School Board, in 1998, named the theatre the "Robert C. Russell Auditorium."

During his last year as superintendent, Russell was president of the Rotary Club of Fairfax.

He was a life member of the National Education Association, beginning in 1969.

In 1987, Russell's humanitarian service was recognized by the Fairfax Chapter of the American Red Cross for his "distinguished and dedicated service to the American Red Cross and the Fairfax community," and his efforts as a member of the Board of Directors.

In 1989, he received the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International "in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world."

In 1992, Russell was recognized as "Rotarian of the Year" by the Fairfax Rotary Club.

The Fairfax County Council of the Arts recognized Russell as co-chairman and then chairman of the Shouse Award program during the years 1986-1991, and as a member of the board from 1989-1995.

In 1995, Russell was honored by his fellow superintendents from Region IV for his service and dedication.