Pastor Joe Nathan Russ peacefully passed away on April 7, 1018 at Heartland Health Care Center in Austin, Texas. Born on April 26, 1932, Cottonwood, Alabama, he was the only child of John and Marie Bradwell Russ.
He was educated in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania school system and served in the United States Air Force. After leaving the Air Force, Pastor Russ traveled extensively as a civil servant. He retired from civil service work on January 1, 1989 after working over twenty-two years as a computer programmer.
Wherever he traveled, Pastor Russ always joined a local congregation had worked diligently to build the kingdom of God through preaching and teaching. As a young minister under the leadership of Pastor Harvey L. Lewis, Sr., Elder Russ became Sunday School Superintendent. While living in the Washington D.C. area, he worked in the prison ministry. Wherever the Lord sent him, Elder Russ was always willing to help someone in need. He used his extensive knowledge of the Veterans Affairs System to assist many with their VA claims.
When his mother-in-law became ill, Elder Russ moved to Lockhart, Texas in order to be able to better assist with her care. There he met Superintendent Paul J. Thompson, Sr. and worked as the financial secretary for the Austin District of the Church of God in Christ. His financial system was second to none. In 1993, Elder Russ was installed as the pastor of Martin Memorial C.O.G.I.C. He initiated spiritual revivals with the powerful Evangelist Helen Johnson. Many of the area churches were blessed with these revivals. Many souls were saved and filed with the Holy Ghost. His administrative ability helped the Austin District achieve much recognition in the Texas Southwest Jurisdiction of the Church of God In Christ. He became one of the assistants to the Austin District superintendent, AIMS chairman, initiated the Fellowship Services. His contributions to the work of the Lord cannot be measured on paper or in a computer. His contributions rest in the hearts of many lives that he impacted.
In his younger days, Pastor Russ enjoyed playing basketball and continued to be an avid fan even until the time that he could only listen to the play-by-play commentaries of the games. By the way, he loved LeBron James!
Elder Russ leaves to cherish his memory Roberta Russ, a loving and devoted wife; daughter Rev. Joni M. Russ (San Antonio, Texas); sons Elder Jonathan Russ (Gladys) (Lockhart, Texas), Jody A. Russ, I (San Antonio, Texas); daughters Gloria Howze (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), Carla Howze (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania); sons Jonathan D. Russ, Sr. (Shejuana) (Lockhart, Texas), Michael Green (Washington DC) and daughter-in-love, Rita Crayton (San Antonio, Texas); nine grandchildren Jody Russ, II, Raelia Russ, Malike Russ, Jonathan D. Russ, Jr., Chanelle Wright, Ella Howze, Erica Smith, Jamir Gray and Dominique Green; six great-grandchildren; and a host of extended family and friends.