Willard "Bill" L. Russell
April 20, 1929 – December 19, 2018
Willard “Bill” L. Russell, age 89, of Visalia, California passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 in Fresno, California surrounded by his loving family. Bill was born in Oxnard, California on April 20, 1929 to Paul Muzzy Russell and Lucia Lange Russell. He was raised and educated in Covina, California, attending Covina High School. Bill entered the United States Air Force in January of 1952 and was honorable discharged in February of 1954 working as an airplane engine mechanic. Bill married the love of his life Jennie Govea on November 29, 1952 in Banning, California. From 1952 to 1963, he worked as a Paving Contractor in Claremont, Glendora, Covina, and Hanford, California. Bill and Jennie moved to Visalia in 1957 to make their home and raised their children. In 1977 he started Russell Paving in Visalia, retiring in 1990. He worked as a farmer in the Visalia area, raising alfalfa and wheat. Throughout his life, Bill was an owner/breeder/trainer of harness and thoroughbred race horses, many of which were winners throughout California. His love of God and family kept him going and he never lost sight of what was most important. Bill was a gentle giant that everyone loved, he was a very stern man and completely honest throughout his lifetime. He worked hard in everything he did to obtain the necessary things and to provide for his family. Bill expected nothing from anyone and felt everyone should work for their needs and wants in life. He was a wonderfully loving son to his mother Lucia, a faithful and loving husband to his wife, Jennie and a devoted and loving father to his five children and grandchildren who brought him much joy in his life. Bill loved his ranch and the many years he lived there, working the ground and training his horses. He was always so grateful for all that his family did for him. His beloved wife Jennie passed away on September 21, 2000 in Visalia. He was also preceded in death by his parents and three brothers. Bill is survived by his five children, Jake of Visalia, John of Albuquerue, NM, Joe Russell of Visalia, Cathy Mendivil of Visalia, and Rosalie Matta of Woodlake, CA; 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren and many friends. Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 3, 2019 from 3 – 7 pm with Rosary beginning at 7 p.m. at Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Avenue in Visalia. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Visalia on Friday, January 4, 2019 at 10 am. Burial will follow immediately at Woodlake Public Cemetery. Donation may be made to the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association or donor’s favorite charity in Bill’s name. Arrangement entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA (559) 732-8371.
- Bill is survived by his five children, Jake of Visalia, John of Albuquerue, NM, Joe Russell of Visalia, Cathy Mendivil of Visalia, and Rosalie Matta of Woodlake, CA; 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren and many friends.
- Ramon Mendivil
- Willard Mendivil
- Josue Mendivil
- Ricky Russell
- Michael Russell
- Steven Russell
- Visitation Thursday, January 3, 2019
- Rosary Thursday, January 3, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, January 4, 2019