John Edwin Russ

Published 8:07 am Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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Funeral Services for John Edwin Russ, 89 of Cordele will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in the chapel of Rainey Family Funeral Services with visitation one hour before the service beginning at 10:00 a.m. Due to social distancing guidelines, seating for the service will be limited and all in attendance are encouraged to bring and wear a mask. The burial will be private.

John passed away Monday, June 15, 2020 at his home in Cordele. Born in Nicholls, GA, he was the son of the late Seward and Edith Priscilla Grayson Russ. He was preceded in death by his lovely wife of 62 years, Betty Jean Kitchens Russ originally from Douglas, GA. He was also recently preceded in death by his only sibling, Billy Sol Russ of Palatka, FL.

John was kind and loving, loyal and devoted, strong and faithful. To his family, friends and co-workers he was generous and reliable. His wife and children, four girls, knew him as fun loving and yet dependable with sound Christian advice for any question or problem they might encounter. He was a committed member of Pinecrest Baptist Church.

John Ed, as he was called by many, had begun a career with the Seaboard Coastline Railroad soon after graduating high school. When the Korean War broke out, Uncle Sam called and John Ed answered the call and was inducted into the US Army on September 21, 1951. He served in Korea and was Honorably Discharged on June 20, 1953. During that time he was awarded the United Nations Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars and the Purple Heart for being wounded in battle.

Following his discharge, he returned to work with the railroad, first in Alabama, and then in 1962 John Ed and Jean relocated their young family to Cordele, Ga and began raising their four beautiful daughters, Terry Ann, Angie, Kathy, and Kim. It was during this time of hard work, with heavy tools turned by hand and great home cooking by Jean, that John Ed developed into a man with big strong arms which earned him the nick name of “Big John.” John completed 42 and one half loyal years of building and maintaining the life saving signals used by the railroads before his retirement. With retirement, John and Jean enjoyed many hours of gardening and visiting with friends and family. He enjoyed being a shadetree mechanic repairing lawnmowers and outboard motors for friends and family. His role as a devoted husband and loving father was what he was best suited for as he loved Jean and “the girls” and spoiling them at every opportunity.

John Ed is survived by his daughters and their spouses; Terry Ann and Buddy Brake, Angie and Jimmy Bray, Kathy and Mike Browning, and Kim and Wesley Brown; nine grandchildren; Tracy Brake Roberson, William Brake III, Laura Brake Griffin, Ben Bray, Krissie Browning Bauer, Hollie Browning Hill, Russ Browning, Savannah Brown, and Olivia Brown; and 12 great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank John’s “other family, his caregivers” for all the love, care and attention that was given to him over the last several years. Vita Taylor Patrick, Ilene Payne, Bertha Lucas and Claudette Armstrong were such a blessing to him and to his family.

Memorials to Pinecrest Child Care Center, 1007 East 19th Avenue, Cordele, GA 31015 would please the family.

Arrangements are by Rainey Family Funeral Services. An online guest register is available at

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