H. Earle Russell ’63

Hamilton Earle Russell, Jr., 79, passed away on Monday, November 23, 2020. He was the son of the late Hamilton Earle Russell and Mary Glover Russell.

Born in Easley, South Carolina, Dr. Russell graduated from Easley High School, then Davidson College, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, followed by the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed a general surgery residency in 1972 at MUSC, during which time he was elected president of the House Staff, receiving the Golden Apple Award in recognition of his gift for teaching medical students. Dr. Russell was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.

Following residency, in 1972, Dr. Russell moved with his family to Greenville to begin his career as a partner with Greenville Surgical Associates where he practiced until his retirement in 2010. Caring for others and healing were in Dr. Russell’s DNA and the Hippocratic Oath his mantra. He could not sit idly by when others were in need.

After retirement from Greenville Surgical Associates, he cared for patients at Piedmont Neurosurgical from 2010-2016, then the South Carolina Department of Corrections in 2017, and currently at the Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside Wound Healing Center and Regency Long Term Acute Care.

During his nearly fifty-year career, Dr. Russell served as President of the Greenville Hospital System (now Prisma) Medical Staff, President of the South Carolina Surgical Society, Governor of the American College of Surgeons, and on the Board of Visitors for MUSC. Dr. Russell was also Chairman Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners. He was a member of the Southern Surgical Association, the South Carolina Medical Association, American Medical Association, and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In Greenville, Dr. Russell was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon, and was a member of the Prime Time Sunday School Class. He was a member of the Cotillion Club, the St. Andrews Society, the Greenville Rotary Club, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of YMCA Camp Greenville.

Surviving are his wife of 53 years, Sally; son Bo and his wife Allison and their sons, Earle, Sam, and Rob; daughter Katherine and her husband Mike Selvy, and their children Charles and Marymac Sagedy, and Grant, Sloan, and Anna Banks Selvy; son Rob and his wife Lindsay of Birmingham, Alabama and their sons Cooper, Robert, and Tee. Dr. Russell is also survived by a sister Perry Russell Gilreath of Greenville, a brother Wilson Russell and his wife Marsha of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and their children; brothers-in-law Mack Thomason, his wife Chereé, Mike Thomason, his wife Holly, and sister-in-law Elaine Thomason, all of Greenville, and their children, all of whom he loved dearly.

Earle was an old fashioned doctor – trained to diagnose health issues by touch and intuition, without computers or machines – a physician for all people, a healer for all times and irrespective of the time. Dr. Russell frequently drove patients from their homes to the emergency room for immediate care and stitched up every child in the neighborhood at one time or another (often without Novocain if a life lesson could be taught with the correction of the wound (with the permission of parents at their wits’ end, of course.))

His compassionate bedside manner extended far beyond his office and the hospital. For family, friends, and friends of friends, he was on call 24/7, made house calls, and advocated for the best care possible. Dr. Russell was a gifted listener, which enabled him not only to heal the body, but to heal matters of the heart. His love of medicine was equaled only by his love for his family.

Earle was affectionately known as “Sage” by his children, their friends, and his grandchildren. He loved an adventure and had many while hunting, fishing, traveling, and driving. Sage was a creative cook and rarely deferred to a cookbook, often with exotic results, read faster than the speed of light, danced like Fred Astaire, and captured attention with his infectious laugh. He was a true Southern gentleman in every sense of the word.

There will be a private interment on Friday, November 27th at 10:00 AM at Christ Church Episcopal, Greenville, South Carolina, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 AM at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, South Carolina. COVID protocols will be followed with masks requirements and social distancing. There will not be a visitation prior to the service nor a reception following the service.

Memorials can be made to First Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 200 W Washington Street, Greenville, South Carolina 29601; St. Francis Foundation, 1 St. Francis Drive, Greenville, South Carolina 29601; Christ Church Episcopal School The Leonard Kupersmith Endowment Fund, 245 Cavalier Drive, Greenville, South Carolina 29607.

Visit RobinsonFuneralHomes.com or Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory-Powdersville Road.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.Published in The Greenville News from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25, 2020.