Russell also did business commentary for WIOD, and freelanced for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Dow Jones Newswire, The Times of London, Gentleman’s Quarterly and Kiplinger Florida Newsletter.
On Feb. 6, 1994, he summed up the changes he’d seen in South Florida since 1957.
“The three-legged economy of tourism, agriculture and construction that existed then has broadened into a widely diversified complex of people and industries whose focus increasingly is international.’’
He called it “an era of progress and controversy, successes and failures, and intriguing personalities whose influence helped or hindered the state’s image and well-being. ‘’
His business “heroes’’ included James A. Ryder, “the Miami truck driver who created the nation’s largest truck leasing firm; James MacLamore, co-founder of Burger King and a civic leader of note; Alvah Chapman, the newspaper executive who has led numerous civic betterment campaigns in South Florida, and the three Mackle brothers...in creating new communities throughout Florida.’’
He noted the overriding presence of “the ill-fated Eastern Airlines, whose impact on the region is immeasurable... If only the likes of Eastern founder Eddie Rickenbacker and the company’s last important leader, Frank Borman, could have converted the airline’s dominant position into lasting success.’’
He wrote that the post-Castro Cuban migration “brought a wave of industrious entrepreneurs and doers to Florida’s shores, hastening the emergence of Miami as a place where the entire Southern Hemisphere and much of the rest of the world wanted to do business.’’
After he retired, Russell and his wife traveled the world, said daughter Nancy Dearr, of Miami. That, and following the Miami Dolphins, were her father’s hobbies, she said.
“They would rent a flat in London and stay for several weeks,’’ she said. “They liked cruising and loved the mountains North Carolina.’’
After Jean Buck Russell died in 2002, Jim Russell met a widow, Sylvia Sheldon, with whom he shared a “commitment celebration’’ in 2004.
“Never too late to fall in love,’’ Russell, then 82, told the Herald.
In addition to daughter Nancy and Sylvia Sheldon, Russell is survived by daughter Eileen Russell, of Atlanta.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545 S. Dixie Hwy. Burial will follow at Woodlawn South in Kendall.