Obituary: Russell Fellows, 1944-2023 | Seven Days Vermont

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Obituary: Russell Fellows, 1944-2023 

Master woodworker created a home that brought peace and warmth to their family and friends

Published November 13, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated November 13, 2023 at 10:14 a.m.

Russell Fellows - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Russell Fellows

Russell Fellows passed away on November 9, while delighting in the beauty of nature and the joy of traveling with good friends on one of his many motorcycle adventures.

Russell Miller Fellows was born in Springfield, Vt., in 1944 to Carole Whittemore Fowler and Edwin Russell Fellows. His strong love of family and Vermont grew from his small-town roots and his deep connection to its history. Russell carried on his family’s legacy of invention and art throughout his life, as a master woodworker, bowl turner, and fixer of any broken thing.

He grew with up his sisters, Susan, Jane and Anne, in Springfield and his Whittemore cousins, Jeff, Tony, Wendy and Todd.

Russell graduated from the Vermont Academy and Middlebury College and retained a lifelong, youthful curiosity about the world and people.

Russell and Bob Coates met 43 years ago. They supported each other’s pursuits and passions, whether it was Bob’s business or Russell’s woodworking. Together, they generously offered love and support to their wide circle of friends and family.

Russ and Bob happily welcomed their nephew Whitney into their family and considered Whitney’s children, Brendan and Delia, as grandchildren. Russell enjoyed their company greatly. Every summer, Uncles Bob and Russ and Brendan and Delia went on a road trip together.

Russell and Bob created welcoming homes, where families and friends were always invited to gather. They remade the family camp on Thorndike Pond in Jaffrey, N.H., where generations of Fellows, Whittemores and Coates gathered for fun summer days, wonderful meals and rides in Uncle Russ’ jet boat.

In Sarasota, they created an oasis for their many guests and a winter retreat for Russell, who enjoyed woodworking in his shop with his many friends. Their friendship with next door neighbors Bernadette and Lynn made it home.

It was in Jericho, Vt., where Bob and Russ created a home that brought peace and warmth to them and to their family and friends. Russ built the inviting house, and he and Bob filled it with furniture and art they handcrafted together. The trestle table that Russ built long ago was well-used by generations of grateful dinner guests. A lineage of Airedale terriers provided additional love and entertainment.

In his barn studio, Russell explored his talent for turning bowls, using tools handed down from his grandfather. He became an award-winning, master bowl turner and found equal joy in sharing his knowledge with others. He joined the Vermont Woodchuck Woodturners Association and hosted weekly gatherings around his lathe in his Skunk Hollow Studio. He was also a member of the Sarasota Woodturners Association.

Russell pursued motorcycle riding with a similar focus, passion and skill. As an expert rider, he explored every road in Vermont and joined tours to explore the American west, Canada, Europe and Asia, with his good friends and cousins.

Russell is survived by Bob Coates; his beloved nephew Whitney Fellows; Whitney’s children, Brendan and Delia, Jenn Fellows and Tessa Bussière; nieces Colleen Merrick and Kate Browall; and nephew Joey Merrick, and his wife, Kelly; and many adored nieces and nephews.

In honor of a life very well lived, and in lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Diversity Sarasota. A gathering will be held in the spring at Skunk Hollow.

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