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Conservation Warden Wall of Honor

Mark H. Russell, Jr.

Mark H. Russell, Jr.

Researched by Judith Borke,
Wisconsin Conservation Warden Museum

Mark H. Russell, Jr., a conservation warden, drowned in a boating accident at age 30 while checking fishermen for licenses in Pike Lake, Chippewa County, near Cadott. The incident occurred on May 21, 1955 when Russell, conservation warden at Neillsville, and Warden James Boruski of Stanley, started their boat's motor to move from one group of fishermen to another. The motor started with a jolt and lurched at an angle, throwing both wardens from the boat. Nearby fishermen pulled Boruski from the water, but Russell quickly sank and was in the water several hours before adequate equipment was found to retrieve the body. Examination of his body revealed that the impact had been severe enough to dislocate his right arm from the shoulder joint, and perhaps also stunned him, explaining why he was unable to save himself.

Russell was born on November 15, 1924 at Humbird, Wisconsin. While a young boy, his family moved to Chippewa Falls, where he graduated from high school. He worked on the family farm for a few years, married Doris Doty in 1946, and became a conservation warden in 1950. He served at Black River Falls before transferring to Neillsville later in 1950. His funeral was held at Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church, Neillsville, with burial in Forest Hill Cemetery at Chippewa Falls. He was survived by his wife, his mother and a sister.

Later in 1955, Clark County and Jackson County established a joint Russell Memorial Park on Lake Arbutus. On the grounds is a stone marker with a plaque in his honor. His name is engraved on the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the State Capitol grounds in Madison.

(Sources: The Clark County Press, Neillsville, May 26, 1955, p.1; Clark County Board Proceedings, 1955, exact date unknown. Photo available at the Conservation Warden Museum, Poynette.)

Last revised: Wednesday March 28 2012