JOPLIN, Mo. — A longtime Joplin civil servant has passed away. He was a man who also touched many lives in many ways. Richard Russell, who passed away on Sunday, at the age of 82, was a member of the Joplin City Council from 1996 to 2008, as well as serving as mayor from 2002 to 2004.

“Richard has a love for our city that just was amazing,” said Gary Shaw, Joplin City Council.

The beginning of Russell’s term as mayor coincided with the first term as a member of the Council for Gary Shaw, who remains on the Council to this day and says even after Russell’s years of service on the council ended, he was a frequent visitor to council meetings.

“Richard would just drop by anytime he wanted to and he was welcomed to do that and he was always remembering things that the Council said ‘we’re gonna do this or we’re gonna do that’ you know, and he wanted me to be sure we followed up and make sure we did those things you know and I appreciated that,” said Shaw.

In addition to his service with the city, Russell was a long time employee of Empire District Electric, was a former Executive Director of Region 10 Area Agency on Aging, and an advocate for local veterans.

“Richard always put the city first, I think he, it’s one thing about him, he put the community ahead of everything else he did,” said Patrick Tuttle, Former Council Member.

Patrick Tuttle says Russell was a driving force behind the annual Veteran’s Day parade, which ironically took place this past Saturday, just a day before his passing. The two men started as Council members the same year back in 1996.

“Very civic minded, I think there was probably not a city group he shied away from, he was there to help people all through his time both as an employee but also as a member of CIty Council, and just as a citizen of Joplin, he had spent his entire life here and he knew a lot of people and was able to help a lot of people through a lot of programs, he was somewhat of a visionary, he could see things changing and see things be very positive for the community.” Patrick Tuttle, Former Council Member

A visitation will be held at Parker Mortuary Friday (11/18) night from 6 to 7. Funeral services will be Saturday morning at 10 at Central City Christian Church.