Dr. Ben (B.L.) Louis Russell, 95, passed away at 2:55 am on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Memory Care Unit of Wheatfields Senior Living Community in Clovis, NM. The resident assistants were unable to feed Ben the last week of his life due to geriatric esophagus.
Ben was born to Benjamin Lee and Lula Mae Russell on December 12, 1922 in Baird, Texas. B.L. graduated from Baird High School in 1939. He played center and nose tackle for the Baird Bears.
Ben joined the United States Navy on March 15, 1942. He was a Pharmacist Mate who helped doctors in the orthopedic ward set broken arms and legs of sailors and marines at a naval hospital at Norman, Oklahoma. B.L. was discharged from the U.S. Navy on June 15, 1946.
B.L. Russell earned a Degree of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University at College Station, Texas in 1947. On July 3, 1948 Ben Louis Russell married Hywanah McFarland at the First Presbyterian Church in Portales, NM. Dr. Russell treated both large and small animals at his clinic on the Portales highway from 1949-1966. Then Dr. Russell practiced only small animal medicine at a 2901 Prince Street clinic from 1966-1978.
Dr. Russell served as Campaign Chairman of the Curry County United Way in 1970. The United Way collected $102,879.00, which was an increase of 18[[%]] over the amount donated in 1969. The Clovis Board of Realtors named Dr. B.L. Russell the Citizen of the Year Award in 1970. He was a member of the Clovis Rotary Club from 1967-1978, serving as president in 1971. The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International named Dr. B.L. Russell, A Paul Harris Fellow, in April of 1973. The YMCA Round-Up presented Dr. B.L. Russell a plaque of appreciation in 1975. The Clovis Family YMCA thanked him for “Distinguished Service” in 1976-77.
After selling his small animal practice in 1979, Dr. Russell became a part-time meat inspector of the United States Department of Agriculture. He filled in for full-time inspectors who were on extended sick leave or vacation until 1994. Dr. Russell conducted meat inspection at plants ranging from Farmington, NM to Paris, TX.
Ben grew up in the Methodist Church in Baird, TX. He was baptized at the Central Baptist Church in Clovis in September, 1980. Ben taught a Mens Sunday School class for a number of years at Central Baptist. From May 1994-May 2007 B.L. was a member of Parkland Baptist Church where he served as an usher. Then Ben rejoined Central Baptist Church until his death Saturday.
Dr. Russell and Hywanah enjoyed traveling throughout Europe, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador. His Asian travels included Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The last trip Dr. Russell and his wife took was eight days in Morocco.
Dr. Ben Russell is survived by one son, Michael Rand Russell of Clovis and a sister, Elayne Logan of Pomona, CA.
Visitation will be Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 9:00am-5:00pm and Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 9:00am to 8:00pm at Steed Todd Funeral Home. Services for B.L. are to be held in the Steed Todd Funeral Chapel, on Thursday, April 5, 2018, 10:00am with Pastor Michael Kirby officiating. Burial will follow immediately after at Lawn Haven Cemetery.
It is requested that memorial contributions be made to the New Mexico Baptist Children Home, 1032 Childrens Drive, Portales, NM 88130
Dr. Russell was our veterinarian in the 1960's and we had a dog that came into labor after hours and Doc Russell met us at the clinic on S Prince and delivered the puppies. As they were born Doc Russell told me to clear their mouths and then breathe in their mouths and give them air, at first I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. I did as instructed and all of the puppies lived. I will never forget Doc Russell he was the best.
Donna WhitfieldClovis, NM
I only knew Ben from Central Baptist Church. I enjoyed helping him to and from his car to the church. I know he is Heaven bound, amen.
J.R. & Julie IvyClovis, NM