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December 2021

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Courtesy photo Russell Alan Church

Remembering Russell Alan Church

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Russell Alan Church, age 61, of Red River, New Mexico, passed peacefully on July 28, 2021 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was recently diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma of the brain that was compounded by stage 5 renal failure, from polycystic kidney disease.


Russell Church was born in Prescott, Arizona on March 12, 1960, to Colleen Blaine Church and Charles Laynan Church. The family moved to Questa, New Mexico in 1965. Russell attended the Questa schools, then Texas Tech University in Lubbock, studying business administration. Russell returned to the Red River area to work at the Molycorp Mine, as well as in various aspects of Red River’s tourism industry. He eventually became the director of Red River’s advanced wastewater treatment plant. Most recently, Russell served Red River as grants administrator and environmental compliance director. He was an essential employee of the Town of Red River for 31 years. Russell was also a long-serving member and past president of the New Mexico Municipal League’s Environmental Quality Association.
Devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Russell enjoyed travel, photography, bow hunting, fishing, and spending time in the Valle Vidal Wildlife Management Unit in the Carson National Forest, where he oversaw water sampling at public campgrounds for the US Forest Service. Among his other interests, he was also a founding member of the Red River Riding Club.


Russell was preceded in death by his parents, Colleen and Charles Church of Questa, and grandparents Alma and Eugene Blaine, and Cora and Charlie Washington Church. He is survived by his wife Pamela Towry Church, her parents Bill and Marietta Towry, daughter Jessica Rael, son Stuart Church, their mother Dee Sims, brother Randal (Traci) Church, sister Charlene (Alex) Madrid, nephews Nicolas (Jenny) Church, Matt (Catherine) Madrid, and Andrew (Stormy) Madrid, as well as niece Chelsea (Kristofer) Church Romero, and granddaughters Angelica and Alexis Lucero.


A memorial celebration of Russell’s life was held Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 11 am in the Red River Community House. A potluck lunch followed the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the National Kidney Foundation www.kidney.org or the American Kidney Fund www.kidneyfund.org.

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