Dalton Gray Russell

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Dalton Gray Russell, 87, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. Born on Sept. 11, 1933, in Suffolk, to Harvey and Ella Mae Russell (Holly), he was affectionately nicknamed “Doodlebug” by family.

After attending Suffolk High School, Dalton enlisted in the military at the age of 18, and served on active duty for almost 23 years, first as a U.S. Marine Corps Infantryman, and later as a U.S. Air Force Security Forces Noncommissioned Officer (NCO). His career included combat tours in Korea, for which he received a Bronze Star with Valor, and Vietnam, and overseas duty in Cuba and England.

While serving in England, Dalton attended an American NCO Club where he was introduced to his wife-to-be, Moreen, whom he asked to dance, on Dec. 23, 1960. Wasting no time, Dalton invited Moreen out on Jan. 2, 1961, and the new couple was inseparable until Dalton’s military transfer from England with the U.S. Air Force, in January 1964. With vague plans to marry, Moreen always insisted that Dalton never formally proposed to her, Moreen visited Dalton at his next duty station, Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base, in Burns Flat, Okla., on March 1, 1964. The couple married three days later, on March 4, 1964. After retiring from the military in San Antonio, Texas, Dalton and Moreen moved to Suffolk, in December 1976, where Dalton was born and raised.


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In Suffolk, Dalton was a longtime member of Community Baptist Church and an active member of Southside Baptist Church. The pride with which he maintained his home in Suffolk was always evident in the impeccably landscaped grounds surrounding it. Together, he and Moreen visited 18 foreign countries (many of them more than once) and traveled around the United States.

Dalton is survived by daughters, Nancy Jane Fleitell and Holly Ann Russell of Bethesda, Md.; and sister Sarah Copeland. He is predeceased by parents, Harvey and Ella Mae; brothers, Harvey and Vernon; and sister Shirley (Deans).

A memorial was held on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, at R. W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory in Suffolk, before a burial service attended by immediate family members at Cypress Chapel Christian Church. Those wishing to express condolences may contact daughters Nancy or Holly.