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Ralph Lynn Russell
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Birth: Jul. 30, 1921
Taylor County
Texas, USA
Death: Feb. 2, 2013
Callahan County
Texas, USA

CLYDE, Tx. - Ralph Lynn Russell, 91, died Saturday, February 2, 2013 in a local nursing center. Services will be 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 4th at Starbuck Funeral Home Chapel in Merkel with Pastor Cody Cochran officiating. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery, directed by Starbuck Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

Ralph Lynn Russell was born July 30, 1921 in Merkel, Texas as the last of 9 children born to the late Selma Givens and Mary Elizabeth (Compton) Russell. He married Cherry Goza January 22, 2000 in Clyde, Texas.

Ralph was a cowboy which is somewhat of an understatement since he probably spent more time on horseback than almost any other individual that lived during the 20th century. From the time he was a boy he had a horse and became one of the best ropers in the country. He won his first rodeo when he was 12 years old and pocketed $ 2.30 for his efforts. He joined the Army during World War II and served in the Pacific Theater earning the rank of Staff Sergeant. His unit spent four months crossing the Himalayas with the purpose of dividing the Japanese supply lines.

After serving his country Ralph returned to Merkel and took up rodeoing again. He made several trips to New York to compete at Madison Square Garden. He also became well known as an accomplished horseman who trained his own roping horses.

Ralph worked as a carpenter for a brief time before going to work for Allied Chemical where he worked 28 years. He was transferred to Bossier City, Louisiana in 1965 where he worked until he retired in 1982. After retirement Ralph moved back to Merkel where he devoted the remainder of his active life to competing in the Old Timers Rodeo Association and training barrel horses. He was very successful in both of these endeavors, winning a number of saddles and becoming renowned for his roping. He also gained notoriety for training barrel horses that won over a half million dollars. Ralph was always happiest when he was on horseback and he was truly one of the last of the real cowboys.

Survivors include his wife, Cherry Russell of Clyde, Texas; two sons, Jeff Russell and Bill Russell and their mother, Janice Russell Patterson of Bossier City, Louisiana; sister-in-law, Dorothy Russell of Merkel, Texas; grandsons, Jeremy Branch and Justin Branch of Bossier City, Louisiana; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Ann Russell Branch; and six sisters; Lucille "Ceil" Nunnally, Mabel "Mabe" Dunn, Christine "Chris" Shive, Doris "Dot" Redwine, Selma Lee "Pus" Warlick and Elizabeth "Pug" Harris; and two brothers, Selma Givens "S.G." Russell Jr. and James T. "Jim" Russell.

Memorials may be made to the Veterans Memorial, c/o Merkel Cemetery Association, 201 Edwards, Merkel, TX 79536.

You may view and sign the online guestbook at

Published in Abilene Reporter News Feb. 3, 2013 
Family links: 
  Selma G. Russell (1879 - 1939)
  Mary E. Russell (1880 - 1948)
Rose Hill Cemetery
Taylor County
Texas, USA
Created by: Txjimdandy
Record added: Feb 03, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104558117
Ralph Lynn Russell
Added by: Txjimdandy
Ralph Lynn Russell
Added by: Cassie Jarrett
Ralph Lynn Russell
Cemetery Photo
Added by: amtsunshine
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- Rob5380
 Added: Oct. 10, 2015

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