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Russell Richard '65 December 17, 2019 10:11 AM updated: December 17, 2019 10:14 AM

Published in The (McAllen) Monitor on Dec. 15, 2019

Russ Richard
1943 - 2019

McAllen - Russell James Richard, 76, of McAllen, passed away peacefully at home on December 7, 2019, of complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). His family and dear friends respected the courage and grace he brought to his two and a half-year battle with this insidious disease. He was a warrior.

Russ was born June 17, 1943, in Louisiana and grew up in Port Arthur, TX. Attending Texas A&M University, he served in the Corps of Cadets and graduated in 1965 with a degree in Business Administration. He wore his Aggie ring every day of his long life and saw to the education of a number of young people at the university he loved so well, including his daughter. This new generation of Aggies holds him in high regard for his generosity and integrity.

From an early age, Russ had a creative streak and a keen business mind. He was interested in everything - which lead to a long and varied career in automotive services, sales, marketing and advertising, restaurant / retail expansion and management and real estate development. He brought to life a failing Maremont muffler, painting it bright red and renaming it the "Cherry Bomb." For the National Dairy Association, he created "The Incredible, Edible Egg" campaign and for Blue Bell Ice Cream, he introduced "Cookies 'n Cream" - still one of their best-loved flavors.

After directing advertising for Exxon, as well as major financial institutions in Houston, Russ entered real estate in earnest. He built a portfolio of hundreds of locations for national retailers and franchisees, financial institutions and multi-family projects in Houston. He was highly successful in developing luxury homes in Naples, FL before moving back to Texas.

Restless in retirement, Russ signed on as a senior consultant with McLaren & Associates Law Firm in McAllen, managing trust portfolios and advising in real estate matters. Most notably, he worked on the planning, design, construction, and management of the Progresso International Bridge with the Sparks family. This bridge is one of only three privately owned international bridges in the USA.

Even with such a varied career, Russ' truest passion was cars. It began early in life at his father's Texaco service station in Port Arthur. Russ studied cars, worked on them, traded, designed, redesigned and eventually collected and showed his custom creations. He loved the speed and performance of high-end vehicles and fulfilled his dream of driving the Autobahn in Germany. He was known for innovative ideas and his meticulous attention to detail. Russ' cars appeared at many local and national car shows and his custom garage is filled with trophies. He took home awards for his unique 1965 Shelby Cobra, 1937 Ford Roadster and 1959 Chevrolet Apache. Those who thought of competing against him might hesitate if Russ was entering the competition as they knew he was likely to win.

Survivors include his wife, Maryjane McLaren of McAllen; daughter Stephanie Myers of McAllen; sister Brenda Schnell and husband, Jeff, of Houston; nephew Steven Schnell of Cortez, CO; niece Angela Schnell of Houston; uncle Jay Stutes and wife, Nadine, of Port Arthur; sister-in-law Connie King and husband, Scott Brady, of Georgetown; sister-in-law Deborah Plummer and son, Christopher Henson, of Huntsville; brother-in-law Conrad Plummer and wife, Kay, of Bronte; and his beloved boys Gabriel Aparicio of McAllen; Alejandro Aparicio and Andres Aparicio, both of San Antonio.

Russ was preceded in death by his parents, Elias and Lillian Richard, of Port Arthur.

A celebration of Russ' life is planned for January and will focus on his joyful adventures in the world of beautiful, unusual cars. All who knew and loved Russ will be welcome and a further announcement will be made. The family hopes to do something worthy of the iconic man he was.

The family would like to thank his close friends, who have been a tremendous source of devotion, strength, and laughter, and the physicians and medical staff who cared for him both in McAllen and throughout his many stem-cell treatments in Guadalajara, Mexico. His special angels were Nohemi Munoz, Keith Standish, Hope Trevino, Paula Perry, Raul & Sandra Fabela, Chalie Alamia, Tony Vega, Mike Baker, Dr. Michael DeCandia, Dr. Rick McLean, Dr. Melva Palacios, Recie Kraemer, Mary Mejia, Tommy & Dulce Phillips, Bob & Julie Ramirez, Randy & Gretchen Hausenfluck, Hal Free, Tony Molina, Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, Dr. Ricardo Ayala, Judge Mary Alice Palacios, Sally Wong, Tony Molina, Joe Ramon's Home Health Unlimited and DHR Hospice.

Arrangements were under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in Edinburg.

Memorial Funeral Home
208 East Canton Road
Edinburg, TX 78539
(956) 380-1416

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