Russell J. Judah, age 94, passed from this life on June 19, 2021.
Russell was born on his family farm in Middle Grove, Missouri on July 6, 1926. After his father’s death in December 1933, his mother moved the family to Mexico, Missouri where Russell grew up and graduated from high school in 1944. Russell left Missouri at age 17 to attend the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, graduating in August 1945 under the accelerated WWII program. He was immediately commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy, serving mostly in the Philippines and occupied Japan and seeing the world from his ship, the oiler Mission Loreto. Between his service in WWII and Korea, Russell continued his education on the GI Bill at the Missouri School of Mines (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology) in Rolla, Missouri. He graduated with a BS in Mining Engineering with a Petroleum option in 1950.
Upon graduation, Russell moved to Houston to join a pipeline startup, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company, now a part of Williams Company. Within a few months, Russell was reactivated for the Korean War and served as an officer on the destroyer DD-742 Frank Knox for active duty in Korea 1950-52. He continued his military service in the Navy Reserves, reaching the rank of Lt Commander before retiring in 1969. Russell returned to Transco after active duty, moving frequently to supervise many pipeline and plant construction projects. He also earned an MS in Industrial Engineering at night from the University of Houston in 1956. Russell spent 36 years at Transco/Williams, all in engineering and engineering management positions before retiring in 1986. He was a registered Professional Engineer in 19 states and a lifelong member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Russell married Jacqueline Marie Williams (Caldwell HS ’55) on October 12, 1957 at First Baptist Church, Caldwell. For the first several years of their marriage, they moved frequently to work locations where Russell supervised pipeline construction projects, returning to Houston in 1965 and raising their family there. In 1990, Russell and Jackie moved to South Padre Island, where they were active members of the SPI/Brownsville community. Russell was a familiar figure serving in several community organizations including the Cameron County Appraisal Review Board. Russell continued his love of the sea as a lifelong power boater and with active involvement in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and US Power Squadron, serving in many leadership positions and teaching countless boating safety classes.
Russell is survived by his son, Russell Jeffrey, wife Tonya and grandsons Kyle and Drew, all of Houston and daughter Janeen and husband David TenHoor of Bryan. He was preceded in death by his wife Jackie, daughter Gwendolyn and younger sister Wanda Judah Ely of Columbia, Missouri.
Services will be held at 11 AM, Thursday, June 24, 2021 at Strickland Funeral Home, 530 Highway 36 South, Caldwell, Texas 77836. Rev. Steve Johnson, formerly of First Baptist Caldwell, presiding. The family will be available for visitation at 930 am. Burial will be alongside his wife of 59 years, Jackie, at Caldwell Masonic Cemetery.
Memorials may be sent to: Office of Development, Missouri S&T, 1100 N. Pine St. Rolla, MO 65409 and directed to Russell Judah Scholarship Fund or online at www.giving.mst.edu. The scholarship fund benefits an engineering student from one of the rural counties that Russell called home.
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