Joseph Jeffery Russell Lebel

December 27, 1946August 27, 2020

It is with deep sorrow we mourn the passing of Joseph Jeffery (“Russ”) LeBel. Born December 27 1946 to Helen Scott and Alfred LeBel in St. Francis, Maine. He passed away August 27, 2020 after fighting a long battle with lung cancer at age 73. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Susan LeBel of 40 years, his children Amber Hahn, Christopher LeBel and daughter in-law Denise LeBel, Candice LeBel, Nicollette Allen and son in-law Francis Allen, his sister Sue Loiko and brother in-law Bill Loiko. He is also adored by 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren along with sister in-laws and brother in-laws and nieces and nephews. He lived in Fort Kent Maine and moved to South Meriden Connecticut as an adolescent where he explored his passion for cars and mechanics. He joined the Air Force in December 1963 and served 13 months in Vietnam. Russ was a mechanic on jet airplanes and received a Citation for Excellence for maintaining F-4 Phantom Jets. After being Honorably Discharged in 1965, he pursued multiple service management roles where he led and trained others in mechanics. His last job of 18 years before retiring was a Fleet Manager for a Road Building Company in Sarasota. One of his passions was NASCAR Racing. At the age of 60 he had the Ultimate Racecar Driver Experience at 126 mph, a great thrill of his lifetime along with a trip to France where he also the thrill of driving “Peugeot” on a road course. He will always be known for his wonderful sense of humor and his creative nicknames for everyone. He certainly loved his sweets especially his wife’s homemade peanut butter fudge, whose recipe was passed down from his mom and would hide it so he could have it all for himself. He also loved his scratch off tickets and was always hoping to win big and was pretty lucky at times. He was a wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. He enjoyed taking his daughter to father/daughter Girl Scout dances also his granddaughter to her school dances as well and always helping his children in every way possible. He was such a strong, courageous person in his battle with cancer and strived to “beat it” and never gave up no matter how bad he felt. He also said his wife was his “hero” but she felt he was the “hero”. He will be missed by all with his funny sayings and making everyone laugh.

Graveside Service will be held 12:30 pm, Friday, September 18, 2020 at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, FL with military honors.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 3:00 PM, Saturday, September 19, 2020 from the Event Center of Groover Funeral Home at Mansion Memorial Park in Ellenton, FL. Family will receive friends starting at 2 pm until the hour of service.

The Visitation and Memorial Service will be livestreamed on Facebook.

Please visit Groover Funeral Home Facebook page to see the livestream.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Lung Cancer Society in Russ's honor.


  • Graveside Service

    Friday, September 18, 2020

  • Visitation

    Saturday, September 19, 2020

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, September 19, 2020


Joseph Jeffery Russell Lebel

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Barbara Jalbert-Fairbrother

September 18, 2020

“Rusty “ and I grew up next to each other at The Cottage Siding in St. Francis, Maine. We were good friends, as were our families. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My thoughts are of his family today as well as his sister, my dear friend Sue Loiko.

Tracy LeBel

September 17, 2020

Uncle Rusty:
Thank you for SO MANY wonderful memories, and for your Sweet, Loving spirit.  Your humor and your kindness give us a reason to smile every time we think about you.  Even when you were going through the hardest times, you always gave us hope, and made us feel loved.  For that we will be forever grateful. We miss you SO much, and we hope that it's unlimited scratch-offs and Nascar for you up there :)
Our Eternal Love,
Tracy, Lexie, and Michael.

Candice LeBel

September 15, 2020

So..... I've had mixed feelings about posting this. I guess because writing here makes it really "real" and I don't think I've totally accepted the fact that you're gone. My mind and heart are so heavy right now. I feel such guilt & regret for not spending more time with you ..... this last year and 1/2 or so I completely isolated myself due to extreme depression & anxiety..... I only wish I was able to see the bigger picture and live every day with you like it was the last... my heart and soul feel empty. I hate being at your house cuz I cant stand not seeing you in the livingroom sitting in your chair with the tv blasting (lol).... you brought SO MUCH JOY AND LAUGHTER to my life... You taught me to have a sense of humor, and to never take crap from anyone and I love you for that. DAD - I love you and I miss you immensely. You are now amongst the angels and I know you are looking down on us. I promise I will always do my best to make you proud of me. I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH.

" Midge"

Susan Lebel

September 6, 2020

My Amazing Husband and Best Friend,

It’s hard to understand sometimes why things happen the way they do. I wanted us to grow old together! We had many wonderful years together but I still wanted more! My life will not be the same without you, it will be incredibly hard to not to see you or talk to you each and everyday. If I was having a bad day I could just talk to you and hear your voice and you were always encouraging me and all was better!! These last five years really were hard on you and it was hard for you not to be able to do the things you used to. You would call me your hero but you were the hero with all you dealt with!! You were always a hard worker and dedicated yourself to whatever you did in life and were good at everything you did, there wasn’t anything you wouldn’t tackle!! The day I met you my life was better. We worked together for 8 years at the Peugeot dealership and went to France, a trip of a lifetime. I remember the first night they had a party for all the parts managers in the country and mentioned the parts guys, Russ spoke up and said hey wait a minute 2 of us us were woman , one being myself and made sure he pointed that out!! He was also the translator for our trip, his family was Canadian French but he move to Connecticut when he was 12 but never lost his knowledge of the language. He was funny and made friends easy, everyone that met him liked him, his personality and humor were one of a kind!! I was always the serious one, wish his humor could of rubbed off on me.
His nickname for me was Weezie, not everyone knew that until he would call my work and ask for Weezie, sometimes he would ask for Mrs Lebel so everyone knew my nickname.
We are blessed with 11 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. We built a wonderful life together.

I know you are at peace and not sick or hurting anymore but that dosen’t make it any easier not to have you here with me.
Love you always and forever ❤️❤️.Your Weezie

Nicollette Allen

September 6, 2020

Hey Funnylooking AKA Doochibutt...

There is not a minute that goes by that I am not thinking about you or the amazing memories you created with me. I remember you swinging me under your legs and then as high in the air as you could at our Girl Scout Father-Daughter dances. I remember you teaching my whole troop how to change a tire so we could earn our mechanics badge- something I still know how to do to this day. I remember you sharing your immense knowledge of cars and mechanics so that I was a self-sufficient woman as I grew up. I remember you picking me up from school in your work truck and us jamming out to oldies all the way home- songs that I can still sing to this day. I remember you winning numerous radio contests and always requesting the Bertha Butt Boogie because it cracked us up. I remember creating a mock electric chair for a science fair project. I remember you teaching me everything there is to know about NASCAR, so much so that I became a fan of Jimmie Johnson while you rooted for his mentor Jeff Gordon. I remember driving to Connecticut with you without windshield wiper fluid- we both had to stick our heads out the windows to navigate the traffic filled road. I remember taking evening dives into the pool with you, just to cool off from the Florida heat. I remember you getting me to try crazy foods like lobster and escargot, which I still enjoy to this day. I will always cherish the memories, the jokes, the pranks, and the teases as they were so uniquely you. That part of you has most definitely taken on its own form in me and I promise to pass it on to my girls so that a piece of you will eternally live on. You are so incredibly missed and there is a big piece of my heart that is missing with you gone. I don’t know how we will navigate this life without you, but I know you are watching over us, making sure all of us are protected and taken care of. I love you more than words can say and I will miss you forever Dada!

Linda Hettrick

September 2, 2020

A Brother in law is someone who comes in your life and becomes your friend. Russ, you are forever in our hearts. Love you,

Crawford & Jenean Mizell

September 2, 2020

Sweet Sue,
We are so very sorry for your loss and you are continually in our prayers for strength, comfort & peace.

Life is a gift from God. Our children, family, friends, neighbors are all gifts to be savored. Although some days may be full of hardships & sadness, each breath, heartbeat & thought illustrates the beauty of the Gift of Life. Keep the positive memories alive & thank God for the blessings in your past, present & future.

Phillipians 4:7 says "Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

"The best & most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, They must be felt with the heart" Helen Keller

We love You, God Bless you,
Crawford & Jenean

Cindy Spitler

September 2, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss, LeBel family. I only got to speak to Russ a few times. However, our conversations were laced with laughter. It was always a good time and a time to smile with Russ. He will be missed very much by all who knew and loved him.

Pamela Copeland

September 2, 2020

Uncle Rusty,
Your brother John, (my dad) said until his dying day “I’m going to win that damn thing!“ and was sadly (for all of us) wrong. I’m sorry that your scratch-off lottery habit didn’t pay off but you really did win the big one: what a lovely family you grew. So many years of laughter and noise, and I will never forget your wicked sense of humor and the twinkle in your eyes that accompanied it. You had a gift - you could talk the Pope into birth control if you wanted to and you had humanity that will be missed by me and many others. Rest In Peace and know we will think of you every time we whip cream, or eat homemade pizza or hear the buzz of a race car.
You were loved, which means you lived.

Chris Lebel

September 1, 2020

Gonna miss his jokes and humor! A long as I can remember he has always called me bummer.


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