Mr. Daniel Leon Russell Priest Jr., of Elizabethtown, gained his angel wings on Thursday, July 30, 2020, at Bladen County Hospital. “Russell” was born August 6, 1946, in Columbus County. One of three children, Russell, was the son of Russell Sr. and Bessie Priest of Elizabethtown and grandson of Sheriff Lee G. Priest and Clara Priest of Elizabethtown and Carson and Stacia Brown of Clarkton.
He is survived by his wife Doll Inscoe Priest of Elizabethtown; son Lee Priest of New York, NY, son Robby Priest and wife Carla of Elizabethtown, son Ritchie Priest of Elizabethtown, and daughter Elizabeth Priest of Elizabethtown, three grandchildren: Tori and husband Campbell White of Hope Mills, Cara and Ryne Priest of Elizabethtown, brother Charlie Priest (Traci) of Tarheel, sister, Barbara Williams of Florence, SC, nieces, Paige Priest (Phillip), Brittany Lindsay (Tommy) and nephews, Trey Williams (Lisa), Nathan Priest (Marie), and Charlie Priest Jr. (Melissa). Preceded in death by son Richard Douglas Priest.
He met his wife, mowing her mother’s yard. Every Saturday, he’d bring her a bubble gum machine ring and tell her, “I’m going to marry you one day.” Many years and bubble gum rings later, they married on August 31, 1968, and shared almost fifty-two years of marriage.
Russell attended Elizabethtown High School. After graduating from Pembroke State College, majoring in physical education, Russell began his four-decade career in Bladen County athletics. Beloved coach, mentor, and friend to many, Russell helped cultivate many talented athletes over the years and was a longtime member of the North Carolina High School Athletic and Coaches Association.
Before a medical discharge, Russell served his country in the Navy. He returned home to Bladen County, where he served his community as a member of the Optimist and Kiwanis Clubs. As a devout member of Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church, Russell served as an elder and sang in the choir. He continued his service on the Elizabethtown Town Council for eleven years and a Bladen County Commissioner for the past ten years.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at 3:00 pm at the East Bladen High School Baseball Field in Elizabethtown. Burial will follow the services in the Mt. Horeb Cemetery in Council. Due to Covid-19, please use good judgement with social distancing during funeral and burial services.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the East Bladen High School Russell Priest Endowment Fund, 5600 Hwy 87 East, Elizabethtown, NC 28337 or the Bladen County Shriners Club, P.O. Box 1835, Elizabethtown, NC 28337.
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