Russell C. Youngdahl, Sr., prominent businessman, civic leader and loving husband and father, died peacefully February 22, 2021, aged 96. Born and raised in Illinois, he was the cherished only son of C. Harry and Nellie Erickson Youngdahl. A man of abundant energy, optimism, and insight, Russ influenced everyone around him to do and be their best. In 1945, Russ received his engineering degree from the University of Michigan where he also met and wed his college sweetheart, Mary Anderson. Their marriage of seventy years was the bedrock of his life and an inspiration for their four children. In 1962, he earned his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Sloan Fellow. Russ began his long career at Consumers Power Company in 1946; he started counting poles on the line and eventually rose to become Executive Vice President in charge of electric generation, construction, distribution, purchasing, land and rights of way, and engineering. After nearly forty years at Consumers, he retired, a state that did not suit him. Just two years later he became president of Long Island Lighting Company, which he successfully helped steer through a difficult period in the 1980's. Back in Jackson, Russ embarked on his second career as a civil servant, bringing his business acumen to many local organizations. He was elected Supervisor for Summit Township, and also served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church, President of the Jackson Country Club, a board member of Vista Grande Villa, and a trustee of Alma College which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1998. Many younger businesspeople sought out Russ' advice in these years, and they always found him a willing listener with worthy opinions. Russ was a passionate golfer, an inveterate (and sometimes disappointed) fan of Michigan football, a lover of sporty cars, and a relentless booster of his children who could always count on him for friendship and support. Russ was predeceased by his wife, Mary, in 2016 and son-in-law, Joel Finn, in 2017. He is survived by his children, Karen and William Pawlick, Ann Smith Finn, Russell Jr. and Elizabeth Youngdahl, and Kathryn and Roger Stauss; grandchildren Matthew (Viviana), Adam (Ann Marie) and Joseph (Sarah Fujiwara) Pawlick; Lauren (Blake) Snyder, Leslie (Clay) McAndrews, and Neil (Janelle) Youngdahl; and Jack and Robert Stauss; and thirteen great-grandchildren. A celebration of Russ' life is being planned for late spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Vista Grande Villa's Extraordinary Living Fund, the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, or a charity of your choice.
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First Presbyterian Church
743 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson MI 49201
Charity of Your Choice
Vista Grand Villa's Extraordinary Living Fund