Russell Holdrege Hollister died of old age on February 16, 2015, at St. Paul’s Retirement Community, South Bend, Indiana, where he had resided since 2008; he was 102 years old. Russell was the first of four children, born to Robert Russell and Susan Holdrege Hollister, Omaha, Nebraska, on September 5, 1912 (the year of the Titanic, as he liked to say).
Russell was proud to be an eagle scout from Central High School and graduated from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1935. He was married in 1942 to Josephine Alford, who also graduated from Antioch (1936). They lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio, for 30 years, where he was employed by Morris Bean & Company in a variety of capacities. Russell was among the early leaders of local boy scout troop 78, one of the first racially integrated scout troops. He was the first chair of the Village Human Relations Commission in the early 1960s, active in calming and uniting the town in the aftermath of the tear-gassing and arrest of demonstrators protesting discrimination at a local barbershop.
He moved to Park Forest, Illinois, in 1972, where he was professor of cooperative education at Governor’s State University. He married Nancy Ryder Cox (the sister of his best friend and fellow Antiochian, Ted Cox) in 1978. They divided their time between Martha’s Vineyard and Santa Barbara, where they were pillars of the local Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), with Russell serving as clerk of the Quaker Meeting for many years. In 2004, Russell moved to South Bend, Indiana, to live with his sister, Marjorie Wilson.
Russell came from a family of very strong women for whom he had the utmost respect. He valued family connections and throughout his life supported and kept in close touch with his extended family, making an effort to visit schools and places of employment to strengthen that connection. "Thank you for the nice visit," he would always say.
Russell served as clerk of the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting during the period when the decision was made to buy and retrofit the current Friends Meeting house on Chapala St. He was one of the central the fund raisers for this project, and then after he moved to Indiana, his sister Marge paid off the remaining loan on the Meeting house. Russ and Nancy also were quite involved in intervisitation with the African American Churches of Santa Barbara.
To celebrate his life, Russell leaves three children: Susan Wasserman (Robert), John Alford Hollister (Deborah) and Frederic Foote Hollister (Irene); four grand children: Sarah Wasserman (Brian Bassett), Veronica Irene, John Henry and John Morris Alford (Jack) Hollister; two great grandsons: Henry Holdrege Bassett and Hugh Russell Bassett and many devoted nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wives; his brothers, Barrett Hollister and Nathaniel Rogers Hollister; and his adored sister, Marjorie Hollister Wilson. A memorial service will be held on April 26, 2015 at 11:00 AM at the Quaker Meeting House in Santa Barbara.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 2nd St. NE, Washington, DC 20002, Amnesty International, 5 Penn Plaza, NY, NY 10001, or the Santa Barbara Friends Meeting, 2012 Chapala St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.