School 12


June 14, 1929 ~ November 9, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old


On the Morning of November 9, 2023, Morley Edgerton Russell came to the end of his life at the age of 94, peacefully, with his loving wife at his side. He was an accomplished long-time resident of DeKalb, Illinois and a professor of chemistry at N.I.U. for thirty years. He was married to Maureen McLaughlin Russell for sixty years and had two sons and four grandchildren, Vance Anderson (Emma Underwood), Charlotte and Beatrix of Lymington, England and Trevor McLaughlin (Jennifer Miller), Truman and Keifer of White Fish Bay, Wisconsin.

 Morley was born in Beverly Hills, California on June 14, 1929, in time to greet the Great Depression. As a young child, he lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Washington D.C. and then moved with his family at age nine to Northfield, Minnesota where he grew up thru high school and where his father was teaching at Carleton College.

His parents were Nelson Vance and Alvaretta (Pottinger) Russell, and two older brothers, Richard and Bryce, completed his family.

 Morley thrived in school and in sports and in scouting becoming an Eagle Scout. While he set records in track events, a near fatal football accident took much recovery time from his senior year but he still managed to become valedictorian of his senior class. He went on to the College of Wooster in Ohio, graduating as the outstanding senior in mathematics and also in athletics and earned Phi Bete Kappa recognition. He went on to M.I.T. and a chemical engineering Masters after which he decided that physical chemistry was his calling and then earned his Doctorate at the University of Michigan and a post Doctorate at the Nobel Institute of Chemistry in Stockholm, Sweden.

 Through the urging of mutual friends, Morley met his wife, Maureen McLaughlin in Southern California in 1960, a senior at UCLA, and they married in 1963. They started their life together in Michigan where he was teaching and researching at Michigan State University, and then transferring to N.I.U. in 1965 where he continued his career and where they raised their two sons in DeKalb.

 A person of many talents and interests, he became proficient in carpentry, plumbing and electrical wiring and tile setting while working on his home, he learned square dancing with his wife when they joined two local clubs and participated in Senior Olympics, in track events. He managed his family farm in Illinois and was a longtime member of DeKalb Rotary while belonging to scientific professional organizations, and served Westminster Church as an elder and also as financial secretary for 21 years. He was an avid reader of current events and politics, and of American history. He loved classical music and live theater and dance and enjoyed performances in Chicago and in DeKalb.

 With his wife, he traveled over the years in the U.S., in Canada and Mexico, Europe and South and Central America and also to Israel and Jordan to explore and better understand church history. The Russell family lived for a sabbatical year in Salt Lake City, Utah when Morley taught and did research at the University of Utah. It was also a year of learning and enjoying skiing and camping in national parks.

 When not teaching at N.I.U. for several summers, Morley did research at Argonne National Labs and he taught at other times, secondary teachers at Fermilab in Batavia.

 With a modest personality, Morley lived his life with good humor and without complaint. He enjoyed his colleagues and friends and was devoted to his family above all else, being proud of his sons, their wives and his grandchildren all of whom survive him along with many nieces and nephews and cousins, a sister-in-law, Carolyn Russell, and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Thomas and Barbara McLaughlin. His brothers, Richard and Bryce and sister-in-law, Doreen Russell,  together with his parents and in-laws, John and Olga McLaughlin and three nephews are pre deceased.

 Morley Russell - an honorable life, well lived and well loved.

  A celebration of his life will be held at a future date.



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