William “Bill” Godfrey Russell ’53

William “Bill” Godfrey Russell, 92, of Davidson, NC, passed away peacefully on March 23, 2024 with his loving family by his side. He was born on September 20, 1931, in Winston Salem, NC.
Bill attended RJ Reynolds High School in Winston Salem, NC and graduated in 1953 from Davidson College, Davidson, NC in the top 10% of his class with a BS in Business and Economics. He was ROTC Battalion Commander, a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and a recipient of an AK Phiffer Business Scholarship. He earned much of his way through college working construction in his youth.
Bill, a proud veteran, served in the US Army 1st LT for 8 years at Fort Benning and Fort Gordon, GA. After his military service, he pursued a career as an accountant in Lynchburg, Va. He worked for General Electric as manager of accounting in Schenectady, NY and Lancaster, PA. He was the Treasurer and Manager of Finance of GE Broadcasting. His job with GE, Turbine Division, took him to Cairo, Egypt and India in financial management of construction projects. Bill was also CEO of PerAmerica Consulting Firm, a business he founded in Schenectady. Retiring in 1991, he made his home in his college town of Davidson.
Bill was instrumental in helping with the Vietnamese refugee resettlement effort in the Schenectady area in the mid 1970s. He spent many hours volunteering to help give them a new life.
He served on the vestry as senior warden at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Schenectady and at several churches over the years where he was a member.
Bill’s biggest joy was being surrounded by his loving family. He was a wonderful provider, mentor to his family, volunteer, Boy Scout Master, and enjoyed and promoted sports. In his earlier years, he enjoyed taking the family camping, especially to Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks, NC, boating on Lake George, and sailing on Lake Champlain and the Chesapeake Bay. He had a passion for traveling and cruising. In his spare time, Bill enjoyed reading, photography and woodworking.
Bill is preceded in death by his father, William G Russell II, and mother, Anna Cly Russell.
He is survived by his wife Karima Russell, her sons Ashraf El-Rafei, Amr El-Rafei (Mervat), and Ahmed El-Rafei (Amy), his former wife June Russell, Ann Applegate (sister), Helen Caines (sister), children William Russell (Joyce), Michael Russell, Carolyn Morin (Richard), Elizabeth Pratico (Paul), 12 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to honor Bill’s life will take place on Saturday, May 11th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Schenectady, NY.
His legacy of love and service to others, dedication, and passion for life will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him.