February 2, 2022, 87, La Grange –
Vance Russ, 87, exchanged his earthly life for a joyous eternity in the presence of his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. Vance was born in Bladen County to the late Jonathan and Lou Russ on June 5, 1934.
Vance met his lifetime partner and true love, Doris Dixon, while attending church in Raleigh. Realizing that Doris never made it to Sunday evening church services, Vance took it upon himself to inquire as to why. Returning from home by bus prevented Doris from making it back in time for church but created an opportunity for Vance to offer her a weekly ride from the bus stop to church. His ownership of a car and her possession of a television brought the two together throughout the week. His love of talking and ability to keep everyone laughing quickly captivated Doris and marriage was discussed after just two months of courtship. Within four months, Doris Dixon became Mrs. Vance Russ on Christmas Day in 1953. A relationship that was destined by God created a beautiful marriage that extended for over 68 years.
Recognizing a call to return to school, Vance began weekly trips to Fruitland Bible College in Hendersonville North Carolina while Doris remained in Raleigh working and caring for their young family. Weekends always brought Vance home with a truckload of apples to sell to raise funds for his family. Working on Saturday and through the night as a meat cutter, Vance ensured that his family had all their needs met while he was completing school.
Moving his family to Goldsboro, Vance became the superintendent for the Odd Fellows Home for Children. Always wanting Doris by his side, she would work in the evenings with him at the home after returning from her day job. Side by side, the two worked together throughout life, first in Goldsboro, then at Kennedy Home in Kinston, followed by 27 years in their upholstery shop, and even two years on a paper route. Where one was, you could often find the other, and that’s just the way he wanted it.
Raising their three boys in a Christian home, Vance was known to be strong-willed and tough, but always full of grace. Any time his children did wrong, they could expect to receive his preaching. Ultimately believing the words of James 2:13, Vance’s solid words of correction were always followed with grace and forgiveness, for mercy always triumphs over judgment.
An opportunity to spread the message of Jesus Christ was never missed or taken lightly by Vance. Always ready to hand out a track and initiate a conversation, Vance shared the love of Jesus through his words nearly as well as he did through the life he lived. He ensured his family was at church every time the doors were opened, and even when the doors weren’t open, he likely had the key. Weekly trips to hold worship services in nursing homes was commonplace, and coffee and fellowship centered around Bible study was a nightly occurrence in their home. Vance and Doris worked for many years in missions, traveling to Alaska and serving as chaplain for Campers on Mission for 3 summers at Kerr Lake and five months in Bryson City.
Through good times and bad, Vance and Doris walked through life hand in hand. As the shadow of death invaded Vance’s earthly life, Doris prayed that she could stay with him until his final breath, a prayer that was answered with a resounding yes. Although Vance left a hole in the hearts of his much beloved family, the peace he provided them by the assurance of his salvation is a gift beyond compare.
A memorial service to remember Vance’s life and to celebrate his welcome in Heaven will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at Neuse Baptist Church. The family will receive friends following the service.
Vance is survived by his wife of 68 years, Doris Dixon Russ; sons, Tim Russ and wife, Trisha, John Russ and wife, Elena, and Dan Russ and wife, Michele; grandchildren, Shannon Houghton and husband, Jeremy, Brittany Piscopo and husband, James, Jordan Russ, Tyler Russ, Keely Russ, Joshua Russ, Elizabeth Russ, Chris Russ and wife, Kacey, and Sarah Krauser and husband, Charlie; as well as several great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and step-great-grandchildren.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.rousefh.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Cameron Boys Camp, PO Box 277, Cameron, NC 28326 in memory of “the original chief”. Arrangements are entrusted to Rouse Funeral Home, La Grange.