Captain Lamar Shafer Russell, 28, of Gold Hill, passed away Tuesday, February 1, 1944 in Papua, New Guinea. As a passenger aboard a B25 Mitchell Bomber ferrying mission, the plane crashed in bad weather into Mount Kenevi in the Owen Stanley Mountain Range.
Capt. Russell was a member of the United States Army Air Forces, serving in the Headquarters of the 3rd Bombardment Group in the Pacific Theatre during the Second World War. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in December 1943, by Gen. Douglas MacArthur for “Exceptionally Meritorious” conduct in the performance of outstanding services as a photographer in New Guinea.
In 1961, a joint team of US Army Graves Registration personnel and Royal Australian Air Force Search and Recovery Personnel located the site where Capt. Russell’s plane went down. A Memorial Service, honoring the crew and passengers of that flight took place at Arlington National Cemetery on February 24, 1963. In 2003, a third-party group visited the actual crash site and recovered some remains which were transferred to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command. In 2004, the JPAC returned to the crash site and unearthed additional human remains. During DNA testing, which occurred over the past few years, the family was recently notified that remains of Capt. Russell had been identified and his ID tags were returned to the family.
Capt. Russell was born June 10, 1915 to the late Raymond and Beulah Shafer Russell. He was a graduate of Boyden High School and graduated from Catawba College in 1939.
In addition to his parents, Lamar was survived by his brother, Cpl. Ernest Raymond Russell. He was subsequently killed in action on Siapan in the Marianas on June 15, 1944.
Capt. Russell is survived by his sister, Patsy R. Yelton and husband John of Gold Hill, NC; nephew, E. Lamar Yelton and wife Jan of Gold Hill, NC; and niece, Patricia Y. Messere and husband Carl of Cary, NC.
The family will greet friends and relatives on Sunday, September 24, 2017, beginning at 1:30 pm, at Gold Hill United Methodist Church, 535 St. Stephens Church Road, Gold Hill, NC.
The funeral service will be held at 2:30 pm on Sunday, September 24, 2017 in the Gold Hill United Methodist Church, with Rev. Beverly Maulden, Pastor and Dr. Ken Clapp, Chaplain of Catawba College officiating.
Burial will follow in the Gold Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in honor of Capt. Russell, may be made to Gold Hill United Methodist Church, PO Box 52, Gold Hill, NC 28071.
Powles Staton Funeral Home of Rockwell, honored provider of Veterans Funeral Care, is assisting the Russell family. Online condolences may be made at www.powlesfuneralhome.com.
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