Cover photo for William Gary Russ's Obituary
William Gary Russ Profile Photo

William Gary Russ

December 12, 1948 — May 6, 2024

Sherwood

William Gary Russ

William "Gary" Russ, age 75, passed peacefully from this life into the open arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ, on May 6th 2024. 
    
He was born to William Poole and Mary Sue Russ on December 12th,1948 in Little Rock, Arkansas. After the death of his father at a young age, his mother married Joe Matthew, who raised him like his own. Joe was the manager at the Lafayette Hotel in Little Rock which provided Gary the unique experience of living in the hotel until he left for college. 

Gary insisted on going to Little Rock Central High School to follow in his father's footsteps. Graduating in 1966, he served as vice president of the student body, played tight end on the football team and made many lifelong friends. One of his fondest memories was bringing the football players to the Lafayette Hotel to enjoy the chef's frozen fruit salad. The chef soon let Joe know Gary's generous nature had caused food costs to go up!  Joe didn't change a thing!

After high school, Gary attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. It was there he continued to make lifelong friends and memories that remained special to him. After a brief break he graduated in 1974. 
 
In 1974 he began his 36 year career at Arkansas Farm Bureau. It was there that he met his wife of 48 years Barbara Ann Caruthers. They married on January 23rd,1976 and had two cherished daughters, Ashley and Lindsey. He loved working for Farm Bureau and loved his Farm Bureau family.  While traveling the state of Arkansas he was a master at scouting out all the best spots that served homemade coconut cream pie.

In 2014, Gary received the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Two years later, the Lord granted him favor and allowed him to be the recipient of a single lung transplant which blessed him with the opportunity to meet and love his two beautiful grandsons, play golf, spend more time with family and friends and enjoy life.  
    
Gary's joy of life was shared by anyone who knew him. He never met a stranger, he always met others with a friendly smile.  To know him was to love him. He loved finding common connections to anyone he met and was a wonderful storyteller. He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.  

Gary's greatest legacy and love was his family and friends. Left to cherish his memory is his loving wife, Barbara Russ; daughters, Ashley Russ (Mike) and Lindsey Toland (Jason); grandsons, Jace Alan Toland and William Russ Toland; Sister-in-law, Elka Lang (Chris); niece, Jennifer Fithen (Dan); nephew, Jonathan Ledrick; friends who were more like brothers, Larry Barnes (Linda), David Caldwell (Diane), and Ted Hood (Melinda); and several beloved cousins.

The family is comforted and at peace knowing Gary was reunited and welcomed by numerous family and friends that have gone before him.  

The family would like to thank the medical staff at the Houston Methodist Transplant Center and the wonderful team at Arkansas Hospice Greater Little Rock for the outstanding care they provided to Gary as well as support to the family.

The celebration of his life will be held Saturday May 11th with visitation at 10:00 am followed by the service at 11:00 am at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home. Interment will be at a later date at Romance Cemetery in Romance, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Donations can be made online (stjude.org), by phone (800-213-6584), or by mail (Send a check to Memorial Giving, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105)

Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main Street, North Little Rock, AR  72114.  501-758-1170.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Gary Russ, please visit our flower store.
In light of increasing scams, all guestbook entries will now be approved by us. At Smith Family Funeral Homes, safeguarding the privacy and personal memories of your loved ones for family and friends is our top priority. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, May 11, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 11, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 1016

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree