School 09

Timothy W. 'Tim' Russell

May 25, 1951 ~ September 16, 2021 (age 70)


Timothy W. ‘Tim’ Russell, 70, of Toronto, OH, passed away Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at his home after a fight with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS preleukemia).


Tim was born May 25, 1951, and raised in Follansbee, WV, son of the late, Charles William and Ruth Louise (Roush) Russell. He later moved to Weirton, WV, and then to mile 61 along the Ohio River in Toronto, OH, for the past 30 years.


He was retired from the Weirton Steel Corp. where he worked as a boiler repairman. It was in the mill that he earned the nickname ‘Mad Dog’; and the ‘Steel Mill Poet’ by writers. Tim was published in a book, ‘A Red Shadow of Steel Mills’ along with 3 other writers who also worked in steel mills. All of his daily happenings at the steel mill were shared daily at the dinner table.


Tim was a Veteran of the US Army (Sgt.) having served during the Vietnam Era as a Military Police Sentry Dog Handler from 1970-1972.


Tim was a graduate of Madonna High School (1969) in Weirton. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree from West Liberty College (1977) and Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh (1979).


He was a world published poet and wrote many haiku and won many prizes with them. The last haiku he wrote, a few days before he died:



      The little dog knows

        I’m toast – 9/13/21


He tended to his gardens along the Ohio riverbank and built a stone henge fondly called ‘Tim Henge’ across from his house. He grew poppies, zinnias, and sunflowers in it throughout the years.


Battling knotweed on the hillside he turned it into a bird and wildlife sanctuary. He would ride along the banks of the river in his boat collecting garbage and debris trying to keep the river clean. He was mindful of sharing and taking care of the earth for everyone and everything. Tim was also an avid Pittsburgh Steeler fan.  


He was the author, chapbook, The Possibility of Turning to Salt 1987; received the Golden Webb Award, 1987; author, chapbook, In Dubio 1988; received State Street Press, 1988; author, chapbook, In Medias Res, 1991; author, full length book, Adversaria, 1993; received Terrence des Pres Prizeia Poetry (Tri Quarterly Books), 1993; author, chapbook, What We Don’t Know Hurts, 1995; received Talent House Press award, 1995; author, chapbook, In Lacrimae, 1997; received White Eagle Coffee House Press award, 1996; published 4 poems in the magazine “Poetry” 1998 and many more published in magazines and reviews over the years; received 4th Shiki International Haiku award Shiki team, Ehime Prefecture, Japan 1999.


Tim leaves behind his wife of 50 years, Jodi (Dolan) Russell whom he married July 17, 1971; two sons, Shane (Jessyka) Russell of Munhall, PA and Ivan (Kaitlin) Russell of Pittsburgh, PA; two daughters, Violet (David) Wender of Blacksburg, VA and Laurel Russell of NY, NY; eight grandchildren, Sophia, Isaac, Audrey, Peter, Timothy, Katrina, Jonathan and Andrew.


He is also survived by his siblings, Randy (Beverly) Russell, Gary Russell, Ronnie (Marie) Russell, Theresa (Chuck) McCoy and Alexis Russell; his goddaughters, Angela Cullinan, and Vashni Wyatt; cousins, Susan Cullinan, Caroline Roush, and Diane Smith, and several nieces and nephews; his longtime writer friend Earl Keener; his adoring shih tzu dog, Cinnamon, who was always by his side, and the inspiration for his final haiku.


Tim’s wishes were to be cremated. His family is planning a gathering next year for a Celebration of Life at his home on the river to spread his ashes, read poetry and music in the spring of 2022.


In lieu of flowers, a scholarship is being set up for a student from the Follansbee, Weirton, Toronto area pursuing a career in creative writing.


Arrangements for Tim are in the care of the J.E. Foster Funeral Home in Toronto.




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