Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Adam Russell

October 4, 1963 - April 22, 2021
Gobles, MI


Open House

Thursday, April 29, 2021
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and Drinks will be served.

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

SPCA of SW Michigan
6955 W Kl Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


If Adam Russell had a message for his friends and loved ones it would certainly be, “Slow down and take your time.” Methodical by nature, he never saw the need to rush through anything whether it was a project at home or work. Adam always preferred to think it over for a bit first, earning him the affectionate nickname of “Lightning” by his coworkers. You could always depend on him to be there to lend a hand when needed, with no questions asked.

James Arthur Russell and Marcia Kay (Gifford) welcomed their first child, Adam Michael into this world on October 4, 1963 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. From age five, Adam was raised by his mother and his step-father, Fred Trumble. Adam spent the first few years of his life as an only child, until his sister, Brenna, joined the family six years later and Dena followed two years after that. Adam loved being a big brother and he would torment his sisters endlessly, but they adored him all the same. As he got older, he was their fiercest protector and he was honored to walk both of them down the aisle at their weddings.

Growing up, Adam was a quiet kid who preferred to stay out of the limelight and was often overshadowed by his adorable sisters. Family was always important to him and for years on Mother’s Day he would make a huge breakfast for his Mom and sisters that would include eggs, lots of bacon, potatoes, and biscuits and gravy.

Adam was never one to shy away from work and his first job as a young man was selling Grit Newspapers. His second job at Fricano’s Restaurant when he was fifteen made quite an impact on him, teaching him many valuable lessons that he carried with him into adulthood. Fricano’s remained one of his favorite restaurants throughout his lifetime. As a youngster, Adam also enjoyed participating in Little League baseball and when he was a little older, he played football for Otsego High School.

Following his graduation from Otsego High School in 1982, Adam attended Central Michigan University. Sadly, during his freshman year there, his step-father passed away. Out of concern for his family, Adam decided to move back home and enroll at Western Michigan University. After a year, Adam decided college wasn’t in his best interest and a trade would be a better fit for him. This change in direction was definitely the right choice and Adam found a career he thoroughly enjoyed. He first became a Journeyman Electrician and eventually a Master Electrician. He liked having the ability to think things through before actually executing the job. He was a proud member of IBEW Local 131 for more than 25 years. He enjoyed his profession so much that he got his brother-in-law, Dave, into the trades and served as his mentor over the years.

One of the most important events in Adam’s life was becoming a father to his daughter, Bailey. She was very active in sports and Adam loved watching her participate. They spent countless hours talking and playing catch with a softball and made many fond memories in the process. Adam tried a hand at coaching one of Bailey’s softball teams, but the two of them agreed that they both enjoyed the game more when they weren’t sharing a dugout! The pair also enjoyed sports as spectators, taking in Kalamazoo Kings games and the occasional Detroit Tigers game. They also enjoyed spending time in the kitchen together making Chef Boyardee pizzas. Adam taught Bailey so much: how to change the oil in her car, how to shoot a gun, as well as the importance of honesty and a good work ethic.

One of Adam’s favorite pastimes was camping. He had a 29-foot bunk house camper he would take up to Torch Lake. Each year, there was a family vacation at the family cottage in Glenn over 4th of July. Adam would work hard to ensure the grounds would be in good shape. He also took it upon himself to be in charge of the fireworks, a job he certainly enjoyed! Not to be forgotten were his annual trips to the UP for hunting, fishing, and smelt dipping and beer tipping!

Adam could never say “no” when someone reached out to him for help. He was a talented mechanic and handyman and he sometimes found himself overwhelmed by the number of projects he agreed to! Though he was more than happy to help, he always stressed the importance of preventive maintenance to friends who sought his help with car repairs.

A huge sports fan, Adam’s favorite team was the Detroit Tigers. While watching a game at a local bar, Adam was introduced to a hairstylist, Brenda Beck, who was interested in cutting his hair. She gave him one of her business cards and the rest is history. Although, he would like to say that she won him at the fair! The two found they had a lot in common and over a period of more than nine years, they became true soulmates. Brenda shared Adam’s love of camping and his devotion to family and they spent many enjoyable hours tailgating while taking in Brenda’s kid’s sporting events.

True to his laid-back nature, Adam preferred to take things one day at a time. It was not uncommon to find him with a beer in hand, holding down the couch with his beloved black lab, Gunner, at his side. An organized hoarder and major procrastinator, he would often say “We’ll kick butt tomorrow,” when putting off a project. A practical person at heart, it showed in his gift giving for holidays and birthdays. Whether it would be hats, gloves, flashlights, he would always give a gift that you would use.

Adam was quick-witted and had a great sense of humor. He liked to watch standup comedy and Robert Shimmel was one of his favorite comedians. He also enjoyed listening to the Bob and Tom show on the radio. His taste in music leaned more toward older country artists like Bobby Bare and Waylon Jennings.

As much as Adam enjoyed his job, he was looking forward to retirement. In 2020, he had a heart attack and as a result, made some changes to his lifestyle. Things were going well, and he seemed to be doing fine, but in the early morning hours of Thursday, April 22, 2021 he died suddenly at his home. Life without Adam’s quiet, low-key presence will never be quite the same, but the memory of his generosity, open-mindedness, and his devotion to his family will live on in the hearts of his loved ones forever. Adam will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered.

Members of his family include his daughter, Bailey Russell; his mother, Marcia (Charlie) Burgstahler; siblings: Brenna Fleckenstein, Dena (Dave) Thorpe, Cathy (Doug) Totten, Trudy (Jeff) Williams, Jimmy Russell, Brian Russell, and Kevin Russell; would be wife, Brenda Beck, and her children: Cal, Ross, Hayden, and Nolan Beck. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. He is preceded in death by his father, step-father, grandparents, and aunt. Cremation has taken place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Thursday, April 29, 2021 from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Adam’s personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can read his life story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to SPCA of SW Michigan.