Russell Howard Jennings of Oxford, Mississippi, passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer on December 11, 2023, at the home of his youngest daughter, Paige Jennings Parham in Fairhope, Alabama. Russ was a devoted Christian, and his faith was his pillar and strength. He was a long-time resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast until his retirement when he moved to Oxford.
He is survived by his wife, Marilyn A. Jennings; children Russell Howard Jennings II (Terri), Mary Anne Medina (Tomas), and Paige Jennings Parham (Paul); former wife and mother of his children, Beth Cooperman, 6 grandchildren, and several great grandchildren. He is predeceased by his parents Ethel Betts Jennings and Nolan Russell Jennings, two sisters, Evelyn Jennings Day and Joyce Jennings, and his son Paul Anthony Jennings (Sue).
Russ was born in Vaiden, Mississippi, on August 22, 1937. He graduated from Marks High School and attended the University of Mississippi. He was an avid Ole Miss fan, always cheering on his Rebels. Russ served his country in the U.S. Army with a ten-year career from 1958 until 1968, serving a tour in Korea. After leaving the Army he entered a career in the insurance claims industry and later the legal field. He was a talented musician and music was an important part of his life. He played percussion at Marks High School, the University of Mississippi, and in several rock and jazz bands. He was the Drum Major for the U.S. Army Band in Ft. Benning, Georgia, leading the unit in welcoming numerous dignitaries and U. S. Presidents. His sons followed in his footsteps and were also percussionists, as well as his daughter, Paige, as a drum major. He was a devoted father who loved nothing more than spending time with his children, taking them hunting, fishing, to baseball games, vacations in the Smokey Mountains, cook outs and picnics.
In his final days Russ managed his illness with strength and grace, and wanted to reflect on his life and the memories shared with his family and friends by reconnecting with many friends and dedicating himself to gifting special memorabilia to his family.
Russ understood that God gave each of us the gift of life and that Jesus Christ gifted us with eternal life. We can only imagine how Russ must be rejoicing in Heaven that the day has come for him to see Jesus and all of those who knew the Lord who preceded him in death.
Russ’s family is hosting a visitation at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 15, at Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home on Howard Avenue, Biloxi, Mississippi, followed by a celebration of life and Military Honors ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at Biloxi National Cemetery at 400 Veterans Avenue.
Those wishing to make a memorial donation in Russ’s honor are encouraged to support CSN Radio, which played an important role in Russ’s spiritual growth and in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ internationally (https://csnradio.com/donate/).
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the Glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18 ESV)
Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Russell Howard Jennings.