I sure wish I wasn’t the one writing this email and I am so saddened to have to tell you about the passing of a dear friend. Russell St. John passed away recently from complications brought on by COVID.
I don’t have a lot of details yet, but have requested to be in the loop once they are shared. I will get them out to you as soon as we know. The family moved closer to Russell’s new job with the Guadalupe Branch and so their address has changed. We’ll share that as well as soon as we have it.
Russell worked for our local Boys and Girls Club when we were on Winchester Road more than 20 years ago. He moved on to lead the start of the Stevenson Branch and successfully got that club going. After Laurie Armstong’s passing, our former Superstition Mountain Boys and Girls Club director, Russell came back to our club and gently brought it back from the shock of losing her. Russell was the voice of our club for many years in the community and forged successful partnerships with the city and many local groups and organizations on behalf the children we serve through the Boys and Girls Club. He has changed many lives in the East Valley.
Russell and Chris have two sons and a daughter. They were so proud of all of them. Their daughter, Serena, represented the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley Superstition Branch as our Youth of the Year for two years. Russell could not have been more proud.
I talked to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley in regards to Russell’s family.
Christine St. John is having a rough time as expected and is dealing with a lot at the moment, so details of services are not available at this time.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley administrative staff was at our club yesterday to visit with the kids and their families, and as you can imagine, it was hard for both the children and the families that Russell had mentored and worked with for so many years.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley would like to help with a celebration of life when we can, but for now we’ll wait until that can be done.
We’ll continue to keep you informed as we receive news back.
Blessings for you all and your families today. Please keep Russell’s in your prayers.
Editor's note: Connie Van Driel is president of the Board of Directors at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley-Superstition Mountain Branch, 1755 N. Idaho Road in Apache Junction. The above is excerpted from two emails.