Russell Lee Smith Sr. was born in Greenport, New York, on December 22, 1937, in Aurora, North Carolina, to James Albert and Anne Annie Ebron Smith. On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 85-year-old Russell was laid to rest at Westhampton Nursing Home, surrounded by his beloved wife and young daughter.

As a young man, Russell and his family left Aurora and moved to New York. It was here that he met the beautiful Florence Elizabeth Swan. On October 4, 1958, they held a sacred wedding. They raised four children from their marriage: Charles, Russell Jr., Alessia and Diona. Russell earned a high school diploma from Aurora and a nurse practitioner degree from Suffolk County Community College in 1972.

Russell is a talented musician and singer. He was taught to play the piano by his mother since he was a child. Once he had mastered these, he took the time to teach himself how to play many instruments, including guitar, saxophone and harmonica. In his early years, he used his talents to play at various clubs, including the Bluebird Inn and various other hotels on eastern Long Island. He loves to sing Barry White!

Russell loved the Lord and had accepted the Lord since he was a child. From the moment he learned to play the piano, he played in churches in Aurora. Shortly after Russell moved to Greenport, he joined the Clinton Memorial African Methodist Zion Episcopal Church. There he became minister of music. Russell has been in that position for over 50 years, and if he’s still healthy, he’ll still be there. We are now relieved to learn that he sings and plays in the Choir of Heaven.

Russell loves all things electronics. His love of videography and photography has led him to record local softball games and air them on local channels. He photographed and photographed everything from weddings, church events, birds and of course the stars. You can find him gazing at the stars through a telescope on any given night. He can sit with you for hours… literally hours… and tell you everything he’s learned and discovered.

Russell died before his brothers James, William, Randolph, Odell and Cliff and their son Charles. He leaves Greenport in memory of his devoted wife, Florence. His children are Russell Jr., Mattituck, N.Y.; Alecia, Kevin, Riverhead, N.Y.; and Diona, N.Y. Bowie, Maryland; his brother Cordis from Brooklyn, New York; his brotherly lovers, Frank Swan (Bassy) of Maryland and George Swan of Texas; his sister-in-law Walrose, of Greenport; his two grandsons, Rachel and Jardine; three great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

A viewing will be held at the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church in Greenport on Wednesday, June 28 from 10-11am, followed by a homecoming at 11am, officiated by Pastor Natalie Wimberly.

The funeral will then be held at the Kachige Cemetery.

De Forest-Grattan Funeral Homes of Southold is serving the family.

This is a paid notice.

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