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A Man Beyond His Boundaries

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Recently H.J. Russell died and it was just heartbreaking to me. I spent an afternoon with him several years ago and it was so insightful about business and life. I was in awe of his mere presence because I knew and respected what he had accomplished in life based on what I read and what I was aware of from a business standpoint. The thing that impress me most about Mr. Russell was his attachment to his family. I had a chance to talk with him about Donata, Jerome and Michael. I have had the chance to work with all of three of them, especially Michael who gave me a chance to work with H.J Russell Construction and that led to working with Donata at Concessions International.

In this opportunity of working with the family, I’ve gotten a chance to see the family up close. The influence of Mr. Russell in everything they do is so obvious. I remember Mr. Russell looking out of his office window in Atlanta for a few minutes and I said, Mr. Russell, is there a problem, he replied “no, I’m just checking to see what they are doing to my boy (Michael)”. I’m not sure exactly what that meant, but clearly his concern about his family from a personal and business standpoint was obvious.

To hear the stories of his association with Dr. King, Mayor Andrew Young, Mayor Maynard Jackson as well as L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, showed me the dept of his reach and influence. Clearly in addition to the above, Vernon Jordan, Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama are all on his list of contacts and friends.

“Building Atlanta” was his latest book and I read it earlier this year and it gave me a better understanding of is background and his early years in life. His determination to succeed started in his preteen years and the book gives me a complete understanding of who this icon was. I personally felt a loss because Michael and I were just talking about Mr. Russell coming to Dallas in December to meet local leaders and business owners and for him to see the latest work that H.J Russell has been involved in in Dallas Texas. But he didn’t make it to Dallas, but his presence is felt. To me that’s his story, a man outside of his boundaries. He may have had a home base in Atlanta, but his reach was far and beyond Georgia. He was a small man in stature , but a giant beyond his boundaries. H.J Russell, left is mark on America and will be missed. My best to the family of a man, beyond his boundaries. Just my thoughts.

  • Teetah

    May he rest in peace. God bless HJ Russell and his great works in construction, property development,
    cultural preservation and business. I did not have the pleasure of meeting him. However, I have
    been inspired by his life and work. Thank you for posting this
    information. -Tisha Crear Susu Cultural Business Incubator Dallas, Tx

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