The Red Oak ISD is mourning the loss of one of its long-standing school resource officers who passed away on Jan. 17 after being hospitalized following a medical emergency, the district said.

Officer Clarence D. Russell Jr. kept the district’s schools safe and secure over the last 10 years. He joined the district at 63 years old and reportedly never missed a beat until his passing at 73.

Colleagues said Russell Jr. earned the respect and adoration of the people he came in contact with because of his unmatched kindness and compassion.

“Officer CD Russell exemplified the best of humanity,” Red Oak ISD Police Chief Kevin Denney said. “He was honest, uplifting, compassionate, loyal, and treated everyone he met with dignity and respect. He made this world a better place and positively impacted the lives of so many people over his years of service. He not only made me a better chief, he made me a better person for having known him.”

As news of Russell Jr.’s death spread, well-wishes poured in on Facebook for the man who spent a lifetime in the service of others – first in the military and then as a police officer.

“He made everyone feel valued with his kindness and sincerity, and will be greatly missed,” the school district posted last week.

“Really hate to see a good man go, but he went to see his maker where he will receive his reward and probably be promoted to high chief,” Dennis Alexander shared.

“I had just started working at the ROISDPD and I was telling someone that computer had stopped working,” Linda Hamel recalled. “Someone told me that CD could fix it, he knows everything about computers… My husband and I were amazed at how quick he fixed it. I never had to call him again. When he fixed something it stayed fixed. He became my friend for life…”

“We have all spent time with CD and he will be greatly missed,” the Red Oak Police Department posted.

The Ferris ISD Police Department said it was “deeply saddened at the news” and lauded Russell as “an exemplary officer and deeply dedicated to serving.”

Touting him as a “great hometown hero,” Scott Lindsey, deputy constable of Ellis County Precinct 2 and former Red Oak ISD police department chief, revered the school resource officer as “one of the most loved gentlemen to ever put on a police uniform at Red Oak ISD.”

Throughout his decades-long career in law enforcement, Russell Jr. left footprints in several other police departments, including Southern Methodist University, Lavon and Ovilla. His service also extended to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office and Pecan Hill Marshall’s Office.

A decorated hero, Russell’s awards in the Army, Air Force and Texas Military Forces, which he served in over 29 years, include a Bronze Star, Air and two Army Commendation medals for heroic or meritorious achievements or service, Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign medals, two Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service medals which recognize exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity, and a Texas Governors Unit Citation which is the highest unit award of the Texas Military Forces.

Russell Jr. lived in Red Oak and attended the Cowboy Church of Ellis County in Waxahachie. He is survived by his wife, Pat, seven children, 14 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and three siblings.