Promoted to Glory: Major Henry Russell

Oct 23, 2023 | by Brad Rowland

Promoted to Glory: Major Henry Russell

Major Henry Russell was Promoted To Glory on October 20, 2023, at the age of 95. 

James Henry Russell was born on January 10, 1928, in Rock Harbor (Key West), FL, along with his twin brother, Samuel Harry Russell. At age 16, Henry gave his heart to Jesus, stating from that moment on that he always tried, with God's help, to walk in this light given to him. 

After high school graduation he enlisted in the United States Army and after basic training was sent to the military base in Koshien, Japan. After honorable discharge, he returned to Key West to marry the love of his life, Lily Anna Edna Freeman. Henry saw her for the first time while she was participating in an evangelistic street meeting. Soon after, their youth groups, hers Baptist and his Methodist, had a combined time of fellowship. They started dating and were later married on December 15, 1947. 

About a year later, Henry and Lily visited her sister, Lieutenant Evangeline Freeman, who was stationed in St. Petersburg, FL. Soon after, they felt the call for a greater service to God—to win lost mankind for Christ. Henry's call said, "I have work for you to do, that none other can do." After much prayer, they were led to join the work of The Salvation Army. 

Of that calling, Henry wrote, "I thank God for such an organization that offers such a large field of work and service to a young person, who desires to serve God and do what the Word says: ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.'" 

Henry and Lily entered the Atlanta training college from Brunswick, GA as members of the Ambassadors session of cadets, and were commissioned as lieutenants on June 4, 1951. Their first appointment was as corps officers in Orangeburg, SC. The Captains Russell were later transferred to Key West to reopen the work that had been closed 18 years prior. At this time Henry's brother, Harry, was a Methodist minister pastoring the Fleming Street Methodist Church in Key West. So, a rarity: brothers serving God in pastoral roles in the same town! 

After nearly eight years in Key West, the Russells felt God's call to missionary service, and were transferred to the Central America & West Indies Territory. There they gave over 27 years in a variety of positions: corps officers in Nassau, Bahamas; Panama City, Panama; and Kingston, Jamaica; sectional officers in British Honduras (now Belize); and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; regional commanders in Bahamas and later St. John, Antigua; officers-in-charge in San Fernando, Trinidad; divisional secretary in Jamaica; and a return to Belize as regional commander. 

The Majors Russell returned Stateside to serve as corps officers in Aiken, SC, before a return to the Caribbean Territory in Nassau, Bahamas, and then to Freeport, Grand Bahamas before entering retirement on June 30, 1991, after 40 years of faithful active service. 

Major Henry Russell is preceded in death by his wife, Major Lily Russell. He is survived by his children: daughter Major Priscilla Broome, and son Harold (Eva) Russell. He also leaves six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, along with one niece and four nephews. 

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Corps, on October 25, 2023, with a graveside service at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

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