Russell Foote, of Hilton Head Island, SC died peacefully on July 24, 2023, with loved ones surrounding him. He was 76.
Russell was born on May 31, 1947, in Aurora, Illinois to Leonard and Grace Foote. He grew up in Marietta, Ga where he played high school football and was an all-star player for the state of Georgia. Old friends knew him as “Rusty” or “Russ.” Upon graduation, he was recruited by Furman University to play football, which he did until he was drafted for the Vietnam War. Russell served four years in the Navy and was stationed on the aircraft carrier the USS Midway.
After serving his country, Russell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Georgia State University in 1979. He moved to Milledgeville, Ga with his wife Judy and raised a family while working as a professional geologist for the Engelhard Corporation, where he was a Minerals Resource Manager. He earned a Master of Science in Administration in 1987 from Georgia College and State University. His work with geology and the mining industry took him all over the world. In 1995, he was named “Miner of the Year” by the Georgia Mining Association.
Russell and his wife retired in 2004 to Hilton Head Island where he lived until his passing.
In addition to being a tenacious athlete, Russell was an avid lover of the outdoors. Growing up, he spent his free time hunting and fishing with his father and brother in the north Georgia mountains. Russell also enjoyed boating, saltwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Over his lifetime, Russell traversed and completed numerous hiking trails in the southeast and often frequented the Appalachian Trail. He fished many streams and rivers, backpacked through wild backcountry, and loved his annual fly-fishing trips out west with his childhood best friend, Stewart.
To Russell, the woods were his cathedral. Nature was where he found reverence, solace, and comfort.
His family meant everything to Russell. He loved nothing more than being at home with his wife, his daughters, and their families. The noise of the grandkids running around and laughing made him happy. He will also be remembered for his strength, courage, and unfailing love for his family.
Russell is preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Grace Foote, and his older brother, Erick Foote. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judith A. Foote of Hilton Head Island, SC; sister, Rebecca Thomas of Lake Park, GA; daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Kurt Weinberger of Bluffton, SC; daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and David Bonilla of Bluffton, SC; and three grandchildren, Kyle, Donovan, and Arli.
Russell did not wish for a memorial service. At the request of his family, donations in his name may be made to the Len Foote Hike Inn, Amicalola Falls State Park Road, Dawsonville, GA 30534.