Russell Allen Whitman

Russell's Story

Text size

Brunswick - Russell Allen Whitman, 87, died October 25, at home in Brunswick, with family and CHANS nursing care by his side. His family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the dedicated service of Sue Michaud from Neighbors, the CHANS Hospice staff and caretakers, and his primary care practitioner, Karen Ludwig.
Russ was born December 25, 1928, to Frederic Bennett Whitman and Gertrude Bissell Whitman, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. As a child he moved and attended schools throughout the Midwest, due to his father's career in the railroad business. The family settled in Oakland, California, where Russ met Nancy Arnold Ross, whom he married in June, 1951. They had four children between 1952 and 1960.
In 1953, after receiving a B.A. in education from San Jose State College, Russ began his career as a high school teacher and sports coach in southern California. During that time, he also received an M.A. from San Jose State College. In 1958, Russ and Nancy moved their family to Salem, Oregon, where Russ coached and taught at South Salem High School. In 1962, Russ attended the NDEA Counseling and Guidance Institute, run through Oregon State University and graduated with an M.E. Combining his teaching and coaching skills with his training, he became a counselor.
In 1964, Russ moved with his family to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University as a doctoral candidate in the School of Guidance and Counseling. His subsequential work and counseling approaches were developed out of the growing field of humanistic and person centered psychology.
In 1968, Russ became the director of the Testing and Counseling Service at the UMaine, Orono. He helped merge the center with the Mental Health Clinic and continued as a counselor and assistant professor. His work included intern supervision, community and staff consultation and practicum training. He took the lead in developing group counseling services, practice and training, a Ph.D. internship, and outreach programs and services.
In honor of his work, Russ was chosen in 1984 as the recipient of the annual UMO Gould Award. Upon retirement, a counseling room was named after him in his honor. He also received the standing of Staff Counselor Emeritus.
After 30 years of marriage, Russ and Nancy divorced in 1981. Marcia Smith of California joined Russ in Orono and became his lifelong partner until her death. Upon Russ's retirement, they moved to Occidental, California in 1991 and cared for Russ's mother and volunteered with the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. For his dedication, Russ received the Volunteer of the Year award along with other honors. His photos were used in park calendars and brochures and in postcards still available in the Visitor Center. For his work with Pond Farm, (a historical artist's colony), his name will be engraved on the Armstrong memorial plaque.
After his mother's death, Russ and Marcia moved to Carlsbad to be closer to Marcia's three children, Mischell (Elias), Rod, and Tad Smith and their partners. They all enjoyed their time together and he will be missed.
Russ became involved with the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, and was a leader in the campaign against encroaching development. For his work, he was known as "Mr. Batiquitos" and received the Outstanding Volunteer Service award.
In 2007, Russ and Marcia moved to La Costa Glen Retirement Community. After Marcia's death in 2012, Russ was diagnosed with cancer and moved to be closer to family in Maine. Russ moved to Thornton Oaks, Brunswick, in 2014. He became sweethearts with Hope Haug, who was a comforting source of support during his decline and death. At Thornton Oaks, he was known as a friendly, insightful and caring person with "the best hugs in the world."
Russ developed over the years into an impressive amateur nature photographer, receiving recognition from many sources. He hoped his photos would inspire appreciation and preservation of the natural world all around us. His hobbies and passions besides photography included dancing , running and walking, gardening, nature and nature conservation, and sports; as a participant, teacher, coach, and fan. He loved football above all and kept up on his favorite teams.
He was a life member of the Sierra Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Nature Conservancy, and a member of the Association of Humanistic Psychology and the American Association for Counseling and Development.
Russ loved family time with his children at his camp on Lower Lead Mountain Pond, Maine. He loved hiking, canoeing, playing games and roasting S'mores with his grandchildren. He will be well remembered as Moosey Moose. Russ was proud of all of his children and grandchildren and the" good lives" they made for themselves and their families.
Russ will be remembered for his kind and warm human relations skills, insightful compassion, great sense of humor, dedication to community service and the environment, and by the many people who called him, "my friend."
He is survived by two daughters: Elizabeth Whitman and husband Harro Jakel, and Clara Parrett and husband Lloyd, two sons: Franklin Whitman, and Andrew Whitman and wife Cammy, a sister Harriet Whitman Lee and niece Nina Thayer, four grandchildren: Annarosa, Katherine, Daniel and Emily, and friend Hope Haug. He was predeceased by his former wife Nancy, by Marcia Smith, his life partner of 31 years, as well as his parents and niece, Lisa Thayer.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, November 27, 2016, at 3p.m. at Thornton Oaks, Brunswick with Reverend Christina Sillari of First Parish UU Portland officiating. All are invited. A life celebration will take place at the UMO Counseling Center on December 17, at 1:30 p.m. To RSVP for the UMO event, please call the Counseling Center at 207-581-1392. Condolences and questions may be addressed to ewhitman@pantimusa.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite nature advocacy organization.
Published on  November 19, 2016
Send flowers
in memory of Russell
See more

Obituary published in

Arrangements by


Share this story with a friend: