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David Ailian Russell
April 2, 1931 ~ March 3, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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David Ailian Russell, age 91, of Crestview, Florida, passed away peacefully from this life to his Heavenly Home on Friday, March 3, 2023.
Dave was born April 2, 1931 in Santa Rosa County, Florida, to James Ailian and Claudia Mae (Yarbrough) Russell.
His humble beginnings motivated him to seek a meaningful career and to positively impact those around him. 20 years of Air Force life allowed him to “see the world.” living in places such as Africa, Ecuador, and Dominican Republic, and 13 states in the U.S.
His love of adventure continued with many vacations, including Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean. He was fluent in Spanish and had a special fondness for Latin America, which he and his family visited frequently. He enjoyed movies, playing cards, fishing and sharing meals and laughter with family and friends.
He settled in Crestview in 1968, after retiring from the military. He owned a real estate company for many years, with offices in Crestview and DeFuniak Springs. During his 50 years in real estate, he helped develop subdivisions, such as Grandview Heights, Kennedy Lakes and Indian Trails.
Dave believed in supporting his community and helped form Crestview’s Board of Realtors, serving as its president five times. He served as President of the Kiwanis, followed by a 2-year term on Crestview’s City Council. Additionally, he served two terms as President of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Dave so believed in this great country and worked to ensure it remains a beacon of liberty and opportunity for its citizens.
Distraught over the surreptitious degradation of one’s property rights, he formed a political action group in 1989-90, Citizens for Constitutional Property Rights. Chapters formed in 52 of the 67 Florida counties. Through these efforts, he drafted the first property rights bill for Florida which was adopted in the mid-1990’s, and named after then Senator, Bert Harris, who helped get it passed.
Not one to rest on his laurels, after retiring from real estate, he researched and wrote an historical novel, “A New Beginning,” which tells the story of strife, war and survival during the early settlement years of America.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, his loving wife of 42 years, Irene Russell (who passed away 90 days earlier), his brother James Russell, his sister, Doris Barry, and his son, David Alan Russell.
He is survived by his daughter, Darlene Dean (Tom). Also surviving him are his ”bonus" children, Sam Wheat, Julie Wheat, Tamara Taylor (Barry), and James Wheat (Stephanie); grandchildren Kane Strickland (Jieun), Tara Haynes, Meagan Huggins (Chris), Victor Leyendecker, Colton Leyendecker (Maholley), Turner Wheat, Collin Wheat, nine great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation with the family will be Saturday, March 18th, at 10:00am at Whitehurst-Powell Funeral Home, with a Celebration of Life beginning at 11:00am. Interment will follow with military honors at Live Oak Memorial Park Cemetery, Crestview.
Flowers are acceptable, or donations may be made to your preferred charity.
Arrangements are entrusted to Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home in Crestview. Guest book and condolences are available online at www.whitehurstpowellfuneralhome.com