> ITA Tennis Homepage > About ITA > Halls of Fame > "Big" Jim Russell, ITA Hall of Famer & Legendary ITA & USTA Head Referee, Passes Away > Jim Russell Obiturary - by Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President
June 27, 2012

To the USTA Family ~
It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Jim Russell, from Belton, South Carolina, passed away last evening.  Jim, a certified USTA Official and longtime volunteer, served as South Carolina Tennis Association President for two years, followed by a four-year term as Chairman of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons.  Jim was instrumental in starting the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984, now known as one of the finest such facilities in the country.
Jim’s work in the state soon led him to the section where he ultimately served as President of the Southern Tennis Association.  Jim was also involved at the national level serving in many different capacities including as a member of the USTA Board of Directors.  Most recently, Jim served as US Open Volunteer Coordinator for the Champions Invitational and, for the 2012 US Open, Jim was asked to host the Reception and Dinner for the Final 8 Members.
Jim focused on officiating, starting with the Palmetto Championships in 1974.  Under his leadership over the years the tournament grew in size and stature receiving many honors along the way and Jim was soon officiating at tournaments throughout the state and the Southern section.  Jim’s skill and reputation as a top official earned him referee positions at the USTA Olympic Festival, the USTA Boy’s 18s Intersectional Championships, the US Open and several other professional tournaments.  He has been the ITA Supervisor of National Events, and Head Referee of the ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournament.
On the local level, Jim was instrumental in the revival of the Belton Tennis Association in 1987 and served as President for three years.  He continued his involvement, focusing on fund raising and planning for the expansion of the Belton Town Court complex.  In recognition of Jim’s many contributions, he was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITA Men’s Collegiate Hall of Fame.
The following funeral arrangements have been made:  Visitation at the home (717 Brown Avenue, Belton, SC) Thursday 6:00 to 8:00.  Service at the Belton Presbyterian Church (405 Holmes Street, Belton, SC) Friday morning at 11:00 followed by a graveside service at the Belton Cemetery (Anderson Street, Belton, SC).
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to your choice of: Belton Presbyterian Church, PO Box 601, Belton, SC 29627; South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation, PO Box 843, Belton, SC 29627; or Belton Rescue Squad, 107 South Main Street, Belton, SC 29627.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to Jim’s wife Frances, his family and his many friends.
Warm regards,
Jon Vegosen
Chairman of the Board and President
United States Tennis Association