The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), in a recent press release, expressed its sadness at the loss of ASSE Past President John E. Russell, P.E., CSP, of Timonium, Maryland, who dedicated his life to occupational safety and health. Even after retiring with 40 years in the occupational safety, health and environmental business, Russell remained a dedicated and active member of the local ASSE Chesapeake Chapter for 23 more years.

Russell, 88, passed away December 12 after a long illness, according to his family.

“Russell was a pillar in the safety community,” said ASSE President Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, CSHM. “We are extremely saddened at the loss of John who gave so much of his time and expertise to help others. But due to his efforts, he will live on especially in all the lives he has helped and touched over the decades. We will greatly miss him.”

Russell, an Emeritus Professional member of ASSE since 1957, served as ASSE Chesapeake Chapter president in 1975 and as the Society’s President for the 1980-81 term. As he continued to pave new trails for safety professionals throughout the years, his work was recognized by his peers and he was awarded the ASSE Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year (SPY) award in 1982 and in 1984 the ASSE Fellow Award, ASSE’s top honor.

During his years in safety, Russell worked from 1949 to 1969 at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in loss control and from 1969 to 1985 as vice president of loss control for the Maryland Casualty Company, now part of Zurich Insurance. From 1983 to 1989 Russell served as director on the Illinois-based Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).

While working and volunteering his time for ASSE, he also wrote several articles for ASSE’s Professional Safety Journal on such topics as: ‘Looking at One State’s Accidents’ (1959); ‘Task Force Report: Legal Recognition of the Safety Professional’ (1978); and, ‘Board of Certified Safety Professionals: How it all Began’ (1988).

His son, Curt Russell, said this about his father, “He was the consummate ‘safety guy’. He loved his career and the people he worked with at ASSE, BCSP and the Maryland Casualty Company.

“I cannot tell you how many letters we have received over the past several months from his colleagues in the safety industry who expressed their love and appreciation for dad,” Curt Russell continued. “It was particularly enjoyable to read letters to him from younger colleagues he had encouraged along the way. While he accomplished much in his life, at the core, he was still a Tennessee farm boy, and people mattered most to him. Thanks to those of you who have been praying for him through the past few months, he felt the love!”

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, December 20, in the Chapel at Mercy Ridge, 2525 Pot Spring Road, Timonium, MD 21093.