Serving West Michigan Since 1899

James Russell

May 8, 1938 - October 3, 2022
Holland, MI



Saturday, November 5, 2022
11:00 AM EDT
Hope Church
77 West 11th Street
Holland, MI 49423
(616) 392-7947


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Hope Church Memorial Fund
77 West 11th Street
Holland, MI 49423
(616) 392-7947

Life Story / Obituary


James Edward Russell, age 84, died Monday, October 3, 2022.

The funeral service will be available on Youtube Live HERE the day of the service.

Jim was born on May 8, 1938, in western Michigan, the 8th of 10 children to James and Grace Russell. He was a hard worker from a young age, working on local farms, saving his money to buy a car (his first and only brand new car - he was also frugal) and going to college. He graduated from Mattawan High School where as a natural athlete in a small school, he played every sport. His family were early members of Calvary Reformed Church on the shores of Crooked Lake in Texas Township along with the Mack family which included Cary Mack who would later become his wife. After high school, Jim started college and also served 2 years in the Army. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in education, a master’s degree in economics, and a master’s degree in social work. Jim and Cary got married on June 6, 1964 with her brother, Rev. David Mack officiating. Both Jim and Cary worked as social workers in their early married life. Jim became a director of social services in Cass County not far from the home they built on a small farm in Schoolcraft, Michigan. Coming from big families and with the hearts of social workers, they extended their family beyond their own 4 children to welcome and care for 9 foster kids over the years. Jim eventually left social work to become an entrepreneur, first founding a computer company serving government agencies and teaching computer skills to the unemployed, and later working in real estate and housing development. Each of these ventures in Jim’s work life continued to be done with a social worker’s heart. Jim’s faith was central to his life. He was a life-long member of the Reformed Church in America serving as elder, choir member, small group leader, including service to the larger church.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Russell; children, Gregory Russell; Kevin Russell (and Genevieve Grabman); Jill Russell (and Andrew Bunnell); Jen Russell (and Scott McCaffery); Anita Zickafoose (and Jerry Zickafoose); and grandchildren, Cassidy Russell, Von Bunnell, Finian Grabman Russell, Francis Grabman Russell, Cormac Grabman Russell, Eleanor Russell-McCaffery, and 8 Zickafoose foster grandchildren as well as several beloved siblings, and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial services are at 11 am on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at Hope Church, with Rev. Gordon Wiersma officiating. A luncheon and time of visitation will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given in Jim’s honor to the Hope Church memorial fund. Checks can be mailed to Hope Church at 77 W. 11th Street, Holland, MI 49423 or through the church website:

Arrangements are by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Mulder Chapel.