Captain Bayard W. Russell, USN (Ret.), of Newport RI, died peacefully November 1, 2022, after one fight too many in a series of illnesses. He had 30 years of distinguished naval service, but was most proud of his family. He leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Pamela Strohm Russell; his daughter Amy and her husband Charles Grier and their sons Charles Jr. and Alex; his son Bayard Jr. and his wife Anne Skidmore, and their sons Ashton and Whitman; his sister Susan (Richard Watson), brother Peter (Virginia Haynes); brother-in-law Klaus Heiliger; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who loved him dearly. He was predeceased by his parents, Lily Warren (2001) and Renouf Russell (1994), and sister Lily Heiliger (2021).

Bayard Russell was born in Boston MA in 1946, the third of four children. He was raised in Manchester MA, surrounded by many cousins. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1964 and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 with a BA in U.S. History. Bayard met Pam, a teacher, in California in December 1970. And then he made the wisest decision ever (his words) – they were married in September 1971.

His was a life well lived. He loved being with family, especially cooking together, with good food, good wine, and lots of laughter. If one of us was cooking, we could count on coaching. He couldn’t resist a taste and a suggestion – or three. 

He loved being in the woods and on the water, whether a river or pond in New England or the ocean. Weekends were meant for quiet walks in the woods (especially if it was cold and wet) and family meals, and for checking out the local osprey nest. His idea of heaven was sitting on the porch at Jones Pond having coffee with the sunrise and being out in a canoe trout fishing at twilight – to be followed by a drink on the porch.

He was fiercely proud of his family. Pam was a teacher who made sure family and home remained at the core of their itinerant Navy life. Amy is a Foreign Service Officer, currently serving in Brussels, Belgium. Bayard Jr. is a successful entrepreneur, carpenter, and climber – passions reflected in his two businesses, Broadleaf Custom Building and Cathedral Mountain Guides.

Salt water truly ran in Bayard’s veins. First commissioned as an ensign in 1968, he served in the Mediterranean and in the Tonkin Gulf. He then resigned from the Navy before his marriage, but realized he missed being at sea and rejoined in 1974. His career took his family to Rhode Island, Greece, Pennsylvania, London, Virginia, South Carolina, San Diego and eventually back to Rhode Island. Career highlights include his two command tours, first the USS Taylor (FFG 50) out of Charleston, then the distinction and honor of serving as the first Commanding Officer of the USS Shiloh (CG 67). He took enormous pride and pleasure in learning the history of the Civil War battle for which Shiloh is named, in helping to design her heraldry, and in building her first crew, which served with distinction out of San Diego. He retired in 1998 but continued to work with the Navy. His most significant post-retirement achievement was standing up the Naval Warfare Development Command at the Naval War College in Newport. He retired for good in 2012.

He is much missed, and leaves an enormous gap in our lives. Fair winds and following seas, Dad. We love you.

A memorial service and reception will be held Friday, November 4, 2022, at 11:00 AM in St. Columba’s The Berkeley Memorial Chapel, 55 Vaucluse Avenue, Middletown, RI. The burial will take place this summer in Keene, NH

In lieu of flowers, please think of Bayard when you make a donation to your favorite charity.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bayard, please visit our floral store.

This obituary originally appeared on O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home.

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