Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home

154 Route 6A, Sandwich, MA


William H. Russell

9 April, 195020 January, 2020

Captain William H. Russell, III, 69, of Sandwich, Massachusetts passed away on January 20, 2020, surrounded by family. Bill was born in Wareham on April 9, 1950 to William H. Russell, Jr. and Rita Lucille Lynch. He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Karen (Zentz) Russell; his children, Matthew Russell, wife Allison of Sandwich, Brian Russell, wife Melissa of Sandwich, Andrew Russell, wife Katee of Plymouth, and Lindsay Russell of Boston; his siblings, Barbara Johnson, husband Barry of Monument Beach, Joan Osgood, husband Allen of Sandwich, and Peter Russell of Sandwich. Bill was a loving grandfather to Liam, Benjamin, Alexander, and Samuel Russell. He is also survived by many cousins and nieces and nephews.

After graduating from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science and a commission in the United States Navy Reserve, Bill worked as a licensed Third Mate for a German Steamship Company. He went on to work for the Steamship Authority and as a surveyor for various engineering companies. In 1973, he began working for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineering in Jacksonville, Florida before moving back north to work for the Corp in Buzzards Bay. Bill was also an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, teaching celestial navigation and costal piloting. In 1979, Bill started as a Second Mate at Great Lakes Dredge and Dock. He worked his way up to Chief Mate before attaining his Ocean Master's License in 1980, earning him the title of Master Mariner. Bill worked for Great Lakes for 33 years, retiring in 2012.

As a mariner, Bill travelled all over the world. He also visited many places with his wife Karen. In his later years, he took an interest in genealogy, travelling to County Kerry, Ireland to visit his ancestral home. Bill was a wonderful, caring man with a dry sense of humor and keen intellect. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 28 at Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home in Sandwich, with visitation hours Monday, January 27, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Memorial contributions can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation: www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org.


  • Visiting Hours Monday, 27 January , 2020
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, 28 January , 2020
  • Burial Tuesday, 28 January , 2020


William H. Russell

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Kevin O’Connell

27 January 2020

I grew up with Bill in sandwich during the 1960s and 70s. We played baseball together as he was a great athlete and very competitive. Being younger he would often stick up for me. As a Massachusetts Maritime graduate I would sometimes meet him in an airport on our way home from sea. I shall miss him.
Kevin O’Connell

Steve Weaver

26 January 2020

I will always remember Bill as very soft spoken, smart, and articulate friend. Some of the special times that we spent together were, playing soccer, baseball, and basketball at Sandwich High School. In later years Bill would always look forward to our class reunions, and "68 Gatherings". Bill you will be missed and I will think of you often. Rest in peace my friend.

Elmer Prestidge

24 January 2020

I sailed with Bill for many years at Great Lakes Dredge & Dock. He was always ready to give a hand and helpful advise to help you be a better shipmate. He was a good friend and shipmate.
Fair winds and following seas to a true shipmate.
He will be missed.


24 January 2020

RIP my friend of over 60 years, Bill Russell, SHS '68. We'll never forget you.

This breaks my heart. Bill was a classmate, a teammate, a brother, and a good, good man. Even though he was a peer, his character and integrity and willingness to stand firm for what is good and right meant that he was also kind of a hero to many of us who knew him, from a very young age. We love you Bill, and always will, and can only share intense sadness and condolences with Karen, Joanie and Barbara, Peter, and all his family.

Elaine Freed

23 January 2020

Dear Matt:

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. I know it has
been a challenging time for everyone, especially for your Mom.

Keep tucked in your heart all those special memories of him -they will provide comfort to you in the many days ahead.

Please extend my sympathies to your family and let them know I am thinking of them during this difficult time.


Robert Parady

23 January 2020

With my most sincere condolences to the immediate family and all of the Russell Family members on the loss of William. If I may be of some assistance, please let me know. With warmest personal regards, I am most sincerely yours, Bob Parady.

Pam Topper

22 January 2020

Andrew and Family,
Bill and I are so very sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. We believe that the longer you have a loved one, the harder it is to let them go. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and hearts as you go through this difficult time and begin the healing process.
Pam and Bill Topper

Matthew Valcourt

22 January 2020

I was sorry to hear of Bill's passing. We sailed together for 5 years with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock/NATCO. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor and always fought hard to get MMA alumni aboard. He would call me up to let me know of positions open on his ships. He was a skilled shiphandler and a wonderful boss. My love to his family. I wanted to let them know he was a great influence in my life. Fair winds and following seas my friend.