The UrbDeZine community is saddened to lose one of its own: Michael P. Russell of the award winning Los Angeles Author Panel. Michael’s article about Los Angeles homelessness is one of UrbDeZine’s most widely read of all time. The following is a tribute and memory we received notifying us of Mike’s passing on August 8, 2018:
Announcing the Passing of Michael P. Russell August 8, 2018:
Remember his smile, his enthusiasm for life, the stories he told and the sound of his laughter. Remember the manner in which Mike conducted his life: “Remove the rock from your shoe rather than learn to limp comfortably.”
Remember Mike’s life in any manner, or the group in which you associated with Mike, best fits. Please forward this message to anyone you think would want the information. In his honor, you are welcome to donate to any Vet’s or homeless charities.
Mike began his life in Los Angeles and lived his childhood days in Los Angeles and Temple City. During high school, he lived in Covina and West Covina. In high school he served as Student Body President, winning by a landslide due to his innovative campaign technique. (He hired a pilot with a small plane to drop cards that read: “Vote for Mike Russell”, which landed over the entire campus). Yes, this was the beginning of his resourceful, do it with gusto attitude, which was one of Mike’s successful attributes. He also exceled as a guard on the Colts Basketball Team, which won many championships.
Mike was proud to be a USC Alumni; he majored in Political Science and received a Master’s in Urban Development. Mike’s professional career began in Southern California, eventually taking him all over the country. After obtaining his CA Real Estate Broker’s License, he went on to work for real estate companies gaining experience in more intricate dealings. This knowledge would assist him later in his career as an Expert Witness in commercial and personal real estate cases.
Mike had eclectic interests. Early adulthood, he loved outdoor sports, snow skiing, traveling the United States and abroad. Later adulthood, he concentrated on quieter pastimes such as reading, golf, listening to jazz, exploring art museums, watching sports on tv, or puttering in his garden. He loved living near the ocean, he loved conversation, and not to mention his storytelling. A stranger, to Mike, would become a lifelong friend in one conversation.
He didn’t just take up space in the world. He mentored, he contributed, he helped young people who were less fortunate, he wrote letters to the newspaper on issues he was passionate about. He knew he couldn’t fix everything, yet he tried. He had a passion for the environment, and for making his surroundings a better place for all. He fought his health battles with tenacity.
Remember everything good about Mike Russell. Honor this attributes, values, and character that encompassed his life. He was grateful for his blessings, proud of his accomplishments, and knew he did his best. He touched so many in the 73 years he was with us. He showed God a good time and took us all on a wild ride.
Mike’s ashes were put into the Pacific Ocean, in a biodegradable water urn. Probably by now, he is swimming with the fishes and perhaps even a mermaid.