Russell Francis Carson, 81, entered the kingdom of heaven on February 24, 2024, close on the heels of his beloved wife Norma. Russell is survived by his fourteen children, fifteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, who all grieve him dearly.

Russell was born October 4, 1942 to Russell J. and Florence Carson. The eldest of nine children, he grew up on his family’s farm in Westville, Indiana where he, like his parents and siblings, woke up early and worked hard tending the animals and fields. As a youth in the 1950’s, Russell had the good fortune to witness the birth of rock and roll as well as to experience the golden age of science fiction. These cultural touchstones influenced him profoundly and for his lifetime. Late at night in his attic room as a teenager, he’d dial into the AM radio station to listen to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and early Elvis. Russell read Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein voraciously and when it was time to go to college he chose to study writing. Russell earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer Indiana and worked as a reporter for many Indiana newspapers over the course of his career.

On December 27th, 1965, Russell married the love of his life, Norma, and together they had fourteen children. As a father, Russell often seemed like an unstoppable font of information. Many who knew him are quick to recall his intelligence and the ease with which he could deliver great quantities of information he seemed to have right at his fingertips. Russell’s children all have memories of drives home from school or church listening to his impromptu lectures on a vast range of subjects. He could deliver a nuanced rap on the Napoleonic wars as easily as a synopsis of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, a complete discography of the Rolling Stones or the career stats of Larry Bird. He never ran out of things to say.

Russell had an encyclopedic memory for details. History, physics, the arts, astronomy, literature and mythology were all fair game. Right up until the end of his life, Russell could easily point out the constellations in the night sky or describe each movement of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. He was an intellectual and an individualist. Though by his own admission he, “Could not carry a tune in a bucket,” Russell loved to sing the words of his favorite rock and roll songs and had a deep appreciation for all kinds of music including classical and opera. He encouraged his children to appreciate the humanities and the arts, raising them in a house filled with books and with PBS on the television much of the time. He encouraged critical thinking, open mindedness and a love of all art forms, and took great pride in the achievements of his children and grandchildren, whether their creative expression took the form of writing, performance, music, visual arts or athletics.

Russell was an avid lover of science fiction, particularly the kind that celebrated the possibility of a more peaceful humanity. No one who knew Russell could be unaware of his love of Star Trek and his enjoyment of its optimistic view that perhaps one day people could live in a world where no one on earth had to go hungry or live in the shadow of war. Russell was an avowed pacifist and had no tolerance for authoritarianism. He loved satirical humorists like George Carlin and Kurt Vonnegut and he was often to be found holding forth with his own dry brand of comedy. He was also a devout Catholic who supported the church’s humanitarian efforts throughout his lifetime.

Although he held dear the traditional values of loyalty and commitment, Russell was an iconoclast in many ways and he believed that everyone should have the freedom to follow the beat of their own drummer. He was a white hat, a morally centered man who could be quite garrulous but never touched a drop of the drink. He was humble, self-effacing, valued his time with his loved ones, worked hard to support his family but did not live in service of money or accolades. He never gave up on people and always believed in the power of love to heal and transform.

Russell was a devoted husband. In the last several years of his life, caring for his wife Norma at home became his north star and reason for being, which he often described as “a privilege.” After her death in January, Russell said he could still feel her presence and he knew she was waiting for him on the other side. He also said that he thought God wanted him to, “Stick around a little longer,” and he tried hard to do so. Russell’s hospital rooms in both Fort Wayne and Indianapolis were places of surprising warmth and laughter. He shared many fond memories with his children and grandchildren there, and he had great appreciation for the skilled nurses and doctors who were treating him. Russell accepted numerous treatments for a very rare blood disorder until he decided it was time to let go, which he did with courage and with many expressions of love and gratitude for his children.

Russell was one of a kind. There was no one on earth like him, truly. We will always miss him.

Russell will be lovingly remembered by his children Mark, Erik (Karrie), Frieda, Kirk (Lysa), Karl, Ingrid (Jeremy), Greta (Wes), Rolf, Rex (Maria), Ryan (Kristie), Olivia, Amanda, Jeremiah (Leah), and Adrian (Victoria); grandchildren Jeremy (Sarah), Drew, Chandler, Catarina (John), Morgan, Samuel, Sydney, Ava, Max, Juniper, Kaylee, Corbin, Lennon, Vada and Avery; great-grandchildren Ellie Grace, Nora Ann and Henry James; his sisters Catherine and Ann, and brothers Nicholas, Charlie, Henry, Christian and Clifford. Russell is preceded in death by his wife Norma, his parents Russell J. and Florence Carson, and brother Richard.

Russell’s family extends their heartfelt thanks to the caregivers and medical professionals who supported Russell in the last year of his life, especially Trina, Vanessa, Chrystal and Yinet; the remarkable nursing staff at Fort Wayne Lutheran ICU as well as Drs. Morgan and Floyd; and the team at St. Vincent’s Indianapolis who offered skillful and compassionate care when Russell was gravely ill. Their empathy and professionalism will not be forgotten. 

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24

A visitation will be held Saturday, March 2nd at Moeller Funeral Home from 11am-1pm, immediately followed by a service. A graveside service will take place at St. Paul’s Cemetery.


All our love and prayers to the family Both Norma and Russ will truly be missed!! Such a wonderful sister and brother n law will always be lovingly remembered!! Rest in peace!! -Kirby and Connie Stannard

I am so sorry for your loss. Russell was a wonderful man. His words of wisdom and hearing him sing along with music videos will stay with me forever. -Chrystal Raymond 

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