Vale Robert (Bob) Russell

Bob with Graeme Webb and Fred Durham
Bob with Graeme Webb and Fred Durham  

Robert Russell OAM

Bob was introduced to Lacrosse while a student at Northcote High and his interest and love of Lacrosse never waned.

His first club was Malvern, and he would proudly tell of catching two different modes of transport from home to Glenferrie Rd then back again.

*(Please ask historian at Malvern, I don’t know anything about his playing ability/time at Malvern)

The Eltham interest came about via the science teacher at Eltham High School Mr. Graham Webb, who coerced both Bob and Fred Durham (parents of pupils at the school) to get behind the push for a local lacrosse club. In 1964 the first team took the field, followed by others soon after. In that time Bob held many positions, Coach, Manager, President, Chauffeur, plus other roles.

By the 1970s Graham moved on to study then practice Genetics and Fred left to coach at newly formed La Trobe University. Bob stayed through the highs and the lows, when Eltham were back down to just one team, Bob was there helping wherever possible.

Both Bob and wife Meg were stalwarts at the club, every winter Saturday to watch the home games & stay for dinner in their special corner of the clubrooms. They mixed easily with the old and new families, always staying for the Team Presentation and Game day wrap, and enjoyed hearing juniors give their team report.

When Elthams first Under 15 team travelled to USA & Canada in 1988, Bob then working for Youth Sport & Rec, organised for the team to be farewelled by the then Minister of Sport Mr. Neil Tresize. Bob also toured with the team, with nearly 30 travellers it was difficult to get them together on time for transport commitments, in New York the bus left with the group, and later realised Bob wasn’t on board returning to collect him.

Bob loved lacrosse, and would tell anyone and everyone he came across about the game. Once retired he spent one day a week at Lacrosse Victoria where he enjoyed working with the late George Tillotson. In recognition of his work with Lacrosse in Victoria he was awarded life membership in 1994. He attended Elthams State League premiership wins, 2004 thru to 2007, and probably  nearly all the others in different grades, mens and womens. He loved the final series, only just missed the Under 15 boys grand final last year after being admitted to hospital, he wasn’t well but was thrilled when he heard they had won, sending a message out “augurs well for the future”.

His son and grand children played at Eltham, no great grand children yet, hopefully that will change soon, but what a legacy he and Meg left behind. Through his family, children Hugh, Prue, Jane and Helen their children and grand children, at the Lacrosse club and the many community projects he was heavily involved in over many years, Church, Briar Hill Primary, local Council projects and the Labor Party to name only a few.

At 93 years old, after a few years of ill health, Bob passed surrounded by his loving family.

He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and his funeral will be held:

 Monday 19th March @ 11.30am, Monsalvat Hillcrest Avenue Eltham.(Please take your lacrosse stick)


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