Ken Russell, the retired Flowery Branch businessman who lost his bid for a state House seat in the Republican primary, has died. He was 77.
The cause of death has not been announced pending an autopsy.
Russell earned 41 percent of the vote July 31 in his bid for the new State House District 103 seat that straddles Hall and Gwinnett counties. Lawrenceville businessman Timothy Barr won the GOP bid with 59 percent of the vote, and is unopposed on the fall ballot.
In his campaign biography, Russell stated he owned a private investigative firm for 18 years, contracting with state and federal agencies for background checks. He was retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He spent five years as officer for the U.S. Navy and five years as a member of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, spending one year in Vietnam.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Charleston, and a Master of Science in forensic science from George Washington University.
A native of Charleston, S.C., Russell moved to the Sterling on the Lake subdivision in Flowery Branch seven years ago. He was a founding member and former vice president of the South Hall Republican Club, and co-founder and volunteer co-manager of the Spout Springs Library Farmers Market.
The House campaign was Russell’s first run for public office. Before the primary, he said he “enjoyed banging on doors, talking to people, putting signs up, everything.”
“It really is a civic obligation to run for office,” Russell said at the time.
“Ken was a great friend; he will be missed,” said Ed Asbridge, president of the South Hall Republican Club.
Asbridge said Russell became “excited about government” and wanted to combat voter apathy. He said Russell served as a delegate to the last two state GOP conventions.
“When the new State House District 103 was created, he came to me and told me he was going to run,” Asbridge recalled. “I told him I thought he was doing enough, but for him, he wanted to do more.
“Of course he did not win but he worked harder than I thought he was capable of. He was remarkable! The Wednesday after election day, we went to lunch and he told me candidly, ‘Even though I lost, I really enjoy being involved in politics.’”
Russell is survived by his wife of 18 years, Eleanor; sons, Todd, Sean, Scott and Kevin; and five grandchildren.
Memorial Park Funeral South Funeral Home in Flowery Branch is in charge of arrangements.