Wm. John Russell, 87, of Columbia City, Ind. passed away at 8:35 a.m. Monday, February 5, 2018 at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home. Born on October 27, 1930 near Ironton, Mo., he was the son of Benjamin W. Russell and Lydia L. (Childers) Russell.
He graduated from Ironton High School in 1948. There, he started writing farm stories as an FFA reporter. He never stopped writing until four years after retiring in 1993 from Farm Journal Publishing, Philadelphia, Pa. John graduated from the University of Missouri in 1952 with a BS degree in agriculture. His classwork included writing for The Columbia Missourian, a daily newspaper published by University of Missouri Journalism School. On graduation day, he was hired as field editor for the Weekly Star Farmer, Kansas City, Mo., a Kansas City Star publication that covered four states.
Nine years later, John became associate editor of The National Future Farmer magazine, Alexandria, Va., former official publication of the National FAA. In 1962, he joined Farm Journal, the country's largest farm magazine, as a field-based editor at Fort Wayne, IN. His "beat" was Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, writing about everything from corn and hogs to sugar beets.
He loved his work, especially visiting farms. He became Farm Journal's hog editor in 1973, still officing in Fort Wayne. Later, he moved his office to Columbia City, where he helped his company launch Hogs Today magazine and became its first editor.
He was married again on October 24, 1976 to Cynthia "Cindy" (Wilson) Teghtmeyer, a native of nearby Pierceton. He was a member of Columbia City Rotary, American Agricultural Editors Assoc. and Indiana Farm Management Association. He sang in the choir at Columbia City United Methodist Church for more than 45 years. Professional honors included a Distinguished Service Award from the National Pork Producers Council in 1996. In 2014, he and his wife were honored as Big Couple of the year for Northeast Indiana by the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization.
Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Cindy Russell; son, Thad J. Russell, of Valparaiso; step-daughters, Nickey Lynn (Corey Burley) Teghtmeyer of Charleston, S.C. and Alicia Beth (Doug) Johnson, of Columbia City; brother, Walter (Karen) Russell, of Hollister, Mo.; sister, Mary Knapp of Branson, Mo.; grandsons, Austin Lee Burnsworth, Andrew James Burnsworth and Kane Maxwell Johnson, all of Columbia City. He was preceded in death by his parents; step-daughter, Lorelei Pfeiffer; brother, Robert Russell; and sister, Gladys Wilkinson.
Visitation is 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Friday, February 9, 2018 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with Pastor Fred Stayton officiating. Memorial donations may be made in his memory to Columbia City United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences online.
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