Russell Henry Wilcox, 89, of Park Rapids, died Thursday, April 16, 2009 at his home.
He was born June 8, 1919 in Park Rapids to Sidney and Anna Wilcox. He attended Park Rapids public school and graduated in 1938. During his younger years, he worked for various businesses in Park Rapids and Bemidji including Bishops, Park Rapids Creamery, Gill Bros. Clothing and Butler's Market.
He attended Bemidji State University. On the day following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he proceeded to the U.S. Marine recruiting station but his disabled hand led to a denied enlistment; the U.S. Army followed suit. In 1942 he was allowed to serve in the Army and was soon shipped to Italy where as a member of the Tank Destroyers he often worked behind enemy lines to provide intelligence on enemy operations. He received numerous military honors during the war including a Bronze Star "for meritorious achievement in ground operations against the enemy in the European Theater of Operations on or about Feb. 27, 1945." In all, he served three and a half years during World War II and remained in Europe following the war as part of the occupation forces. During the Korean War, his country called him back to active duty from which he returned home in 1952.
He retired with 26 years of combined service in the Army and National Guard. Following his military service, he worked for the U.S. Postal Office in Park Rapids and retired from there in 1984.
He married Donna Lee Dalen on Dec. 27, 1952 and lived in Bemidji and Moorhead before returning to Park Rapids. He was a member of Riverside United Methodist Church, American Legion Post 212 and Headwaters Golf Club.
He is survived by his wife; two sisters: La Donna Ogden and Mary Larsen, both of Park Rapids; three sons: James, of Minneapolis, Scott (Sherry), of Casper, Wyo., and Trent, of Glendale, Ariz.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Grant.
Honorary casket bearers: Daniel, David, Alissa and Riley Wilcox.
Funeral service: 11 a.m. Friday, April 24 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be left at www.jonespearson.com.