Russell V. Stephenson passed away on March 13, 2015 at the amazing age of 94. He had been living in an assisted living facility in Salem, Va. since the passing of his beloved wife Vivian in April of 2012. Russ was born in Red Oak, Iowa on January 12, 1921 He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Music after he had served in the U.S. Army Air Corp. He taught music for several years in both Honolulu and Ithica, NY before venturing into the aviation business.
Russ joined Mohawk Airlines in 1953 as director of employee relations and subsequently held positions as personell director and vice president, customer service v.p, sales and service v.p., sales v.p. and senior v.p. of marketing. He was named executive v.p. and member of the board of directors for the New York based regional carrier in 1967, president in 1968 and CEO two years later.
His career with Hughes Airwest began in late 1971 as V.P of Marketing. He held that position until July of 1976 when he was named acting general manager after Irv Tague left to start Midway Airlines. In January of 1977, the Summa Board of Directors made it official. Stephenson remained President and General Manager until October of 1980 when Hughes Airwest was purchased by Republic Airlines.
Vivian and Russ spent four more years in the aviation industry before retiring in Virginia to be near their family. Russ spent two years each with American International Airways and Command Airways both in the NY area.
Graveside services were held on Monday, March 16, 2015 at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem.