Stephen Lawrence Russell

January 6, 2024
Russell, Stephen, Photo
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Steve Russell born September 27, 1933 in the old Thompson Hospital, Canandaigua, NY, died Saturday January 6, 2024.

A Celebration of Steve’s life will be held on Friday (April 12th, 2024) at 2 p.m. at King’s Party House, 4031 State Routes 5 & 20, Canandaigua, NY.

Contributions in Steve’s memory for a City Pier project may be made to: FLACE/ City of Canandaigua Centennial Endowment, c/o Canandaigua National Bank, 72 S. Main St., Canandaigua, NY 14424.  ATTN: Kirsten Johnson.

Steve was the son of George and Laura Russell. He was educated in the Canandaigua City Public Schools graduating from CA with the Class of 1951. He received BA and MS degrees from the University of Rochester. During the Korean Conflict he served in the US Army Security Agency in Alaska for three years. On his return he and Alice Jones married, started their family, and resided in Aloquin, NY for 61 years. 

As a youth Steve delivered the Daily Messenger and then the D&C from age 12 to 14. He cooked hot dogs for Jonny Walsh at Roseland, was on the NY State Highways paving crew, and at the Russell family Tastee-Freez. He and his brother George picked strawberries from the large family garden on Main Street. The “boys” got in trouble with their dad for picking green ones! Steve bought a pink dress shirt with some of his earnings. He thought it was white. It was later learned that both boys were color blind! 

Steve was quite the “character” working in the two worlds of professional education and independent business.

Steve taught Social Studies in Gorham High School and 7th grade at Phelps Central School. He established the seasonal business, Ye Olde Barn Painters. The business was well-known in the area for the school bus with its “cherry-picker” attachment. He finished his teaching career as Assistant to the Superintendent of the Geneva Schools. He also owned and ran two coin-operated carwashes in Geneva, NY.

In later years, Steve was Resident Manager of Holiday Harbour for 13 years and unpaid Director of Operations at Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens. At Sonnenberg, he built a volunteer force of close to 150 (including “The Old Man Mowers”) and saved the estate from bankruptcy before it was sold to NY State. Steve was elected to one term as Hopewell Town Supervisor and Ontario County Supervisor. He also volunteered for Ontario Pathways for many years.

He is survived by his wife Alice Mae Russell, his children Mark Russell (Lisa), Tamorah Cancilla (Braden), and Jeffery Russell (Sarah), and his grandchildren: Michael Corbett (Carolynn), and Matthew (Margaret) and Mitchell (Caitlin) Russell, Brenna and Alyssa Cancilla, step-grandchildren – Ciara (Ty) Smith, Aislinn McCarthy (Jacob Anderson), Errina and Declan McCarthy, and Great-grand daughter, Alessia Mae Anderson.

He is also survived by his sisters Jinny Loomis (Norman) and Barbara Hamlin, sister-in-law Pat Jones, dear dog buddy, Abby, as well as many dear nieces and nephews and a multitude of friends. His brother George R. Russell predeceased him.

The family thanks the staff of The Pines at MM Ewing Continuing Care, especially Jen, Chasity, Mike, Justin, and Andrew.

Please visit to send a message of condolence to the Russell Family.


Celebration of Life

King's Catering and Party House

Friday, April 12, 2024
2:00 PM
4031 State Routes 5 & 20
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Get Directions


Norm & Lois Lee from Bradenton, Florida on Jan. 15, 2024

Alice and Family. Sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. He was a great guy and Friend. He will be missed by all of his Family and Friends. May he RIP

Amanda Hamlin from West Orange on Jan. 15, 2024

Sending love and sympathy to you all. Uncle Steve was very special to me, being one of a kind! He was the keeper of family stories among other things. He always could make his mother, my grandmother Russell, crack up laughing like no one else. I will miss him. I'm sure you will too.
Amanda Hamlin

Joan (Johnson) Hastings from Geneva New York on Jan. 18, 2024

I had Mrs. Russell for 2nd grade and then had Mr. Russell for 7th grade history - both in Phelps. A summer or two after, he spray painted our house with his cherry picker bucket vehicle. They were two on my favorite teachers. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Russell and the children.

Alan Canne from Clifton Springs, NY 14432 on Jan. 18, 2024

Mr. Russell (Steve) and I go back a long time. I had him for 7th grade at Phelps high school and years later (late 70's) I worked at Sherwin Williams in Canandaigua. Always a funny guy (atho there were a few times in Social Studies......). My condolences to the family, he was a good guy!



Walter Brown Jr from PARANAVAI, PR, Brazil on Jan. 19, 2024

Steve was good to me. He gave me my first job at age 16-ish and a lot of good advice. Later in life, I enjoyed albeit on rare occasions talking politics with him.

Steve Flood from Ballston lake,ny 12019 on Jan. 21, 2024

My sympathy to all of Steve’s family. I remember the times and jobs we painted barns and homes. That bucket bus was awesome to someone 18 years old. I was also on that crew. That we painted the house in Geneva a pinkish color—that’s when I learned he was colorblind. Will never forget that. House was supposed to be white .
Steve had so much pride in his work and enthusiasm for each day. It was fun knowing and working for him many years ago..
Again , sorry for your loss.

Richard Neufang from 5102 Parrish Street Ext., Room 242 on Jan. 26, 2024

What can I say to properly honor Steve? A favorite teacher, employer, certainly my best friend. I will miss your humor and great friendship,. You put up a great battle Steve and I already look so forward to meeting up with you, up above. Thanks for all you enabled me to do. Will never, never forget our friendship. My very best to your wonderful family.

Richard Neufang from Quail Summit, 5102 Parrish Street Ext., Apt. 242, Canandaigua, NY, 14424 on Jan. 26, 2024

One of the finest and kindest men, I have ever known. Thanks so much for all you did for me and our family, Steve. If I have been successful in life, I owe you for most of the credit. You and Alice meant the world to me. Your trust in me was amazing. Many, many thanks. Hope our paths may cross again up above. We still have many good experiences to review.

Donna Brindisi Wenk from Canandaigua NY on Feb. 9, 2024

My sympathies to all the Russell family. I have many fond memories of Steve as both my first boss at HH and then later as Debbie’s father in law. Thinking of you all.

Mike Flood from Oswego on Feb. 15, 2024

To Alice and the Russel family.
Steve, painted a lot of barns in the Finger Lakes region. I remember Steve enjoyed working with farmers, They always worked hard and had pride in keeping their farm looking good. Steve helped me out a lot during school. He would give me extra hours and have a job during weekends.

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