Russell Kelso Bolton Jr., 92, a longtime Palm Desert resident, died peacefully at his home Saturday, Nov. 16 with his family near his side.
Russell was a frequent visitor to the Santa Barbara area, where his son, Tom Bolton, lives and works as executive editor for Noozhawk.
Russell was a loving husband, father and grandfather, who seemed to have an endless number of friends and acquaintances.
A retired corporate executive known to family and friends as Bud, he was an avid golfer who enjoyed his retirement years at Ironwood Country Club, as well as playing at courses throughout the world.
He loved to travel, and had the good fortune to visit many far-flung corners of the globe.
Russell loved his family and friends, and enjoyed nothing more than holding court behind his bar, "solving the world's problems," as he used to say.
Born March 25, 1921, in Morgantown, W.Va., Russell was the oldest of three children of Russell and Otella Bolton.
He grew up in Morgantown and attended West Virginia University before his studies were interrupted by World War II.
He joined the Army Air Corps and became a B-24 bomber pilot, flying numerous missions in the European Theater.
In 1944, Russell was wed to the former Ruth Buffington, whom he met at the university, and they were married for almost 70 years.
After the war, Russell returned to complete his studies at WVU, where he also obtained a law degree and worked for the Athletic Department staff. After earning his master's degree in tax law at New York University, he worked as an attorney in New York.
In 1961, Russell and Ruth packed up their family and drove cross-country to Los Angeles, where he took a job as an attorney for Rexall Drug and Chemical Co., the forerunner to Dart Industries.
He eventually became vice president and general counsel for Dart, which later merged with Kraft Foods.
After he retired, Russell and Ruth moved from their home in Tarzana, in the San Fernando Valley, to Palm Desert, where they enjoyed golf, friends and the community.
Russell loved parties, family gatherings and the holidays, and took particular joy and pride each year in decorating the Christmas tree.
He remained a staunch supporter of WVU, following its athletic teams and making considerable financial contributions to its academic programs.
He enjoyed watching sports of all sorts, especially the weekend golf tournaments, as well as rooting on teams including the Dodgers and Lakers.
Russell is survived by his wife, Ruth; his daughter, Jane Bolton of Simi Valley; his son, Tom Bolton and wife Joan of Goleta; his brother, Jack Bolton and wife Barbara of Sarasota, Fla.; and grandchildren Laura and Timmy Bolton.
A private family gathering in Russell's memory will be held at a later date.
Rose Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.