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Russell Proffitt
June 21, 2013


The Rev. Russell Donald Proffitt, 80, of Cedar Rapids, formerly of Lisbon, died Friday, June 14, 2013, at the Woodlands, Meth-Wick Community, Cedar Rapids.

A memorial service for Russ will be at 11 a.m. June 26 at the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon by the Rev. Lori Wunder. His body was donated to the deeded body program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Russ was born in Davenport on Jan. 28, 1933, the son of Woodville Joseph and Winona Blair Proffitt. He attended Davenport public school, graduating from Davenport Central in 1950. He earned a B.A. from Park University, Parkville, Mo., in 1955, and a master's of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J., in 1958. Russ married Constance Koning in Davenport on Sept. 3, 1954.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, four children and their spouses and nine grandchildren: Elizabeth Proffitt Riechers (Carl), Russell, Victoria and Daniel Riechers, Lisbon, Joseph "Jay" Proffitt (Helen), Abraham, Isaac, and Rachel Proffitt, Solon, Carole Proffitt Frazee (Jeffrey), Chance and Dennis Frazee (Rita) Manhattan, Mont., Russell Proffitt, Jr. (Angela), and Logan Proffitt, Beaman. He is also survived by a sister, Mildred Taylor (Dean) of Davenport and sister-in-law, Jane Koning of Oconomowoc, Wis., plus many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, and a sister.

He served churches in Poughkeepsie and Fredonia, N.Y., and supplied numerous pulpits in New York and Iowa. He was also involved in migrant ministries in western New York; directed community action agencies, Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc., in Chautauqua County, N.Y., and the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) in Cedar Rapids; served on the National Association of Community Action Agency Directors national board; directed the Heritage Area Agency on Aging in Cedar Rapids; and served on the National Association of Area Agency on Aging Directors national board.

Russ sang in the Princeton Touring Choir and in church choirs from high school through retirement. He was an active volunteer in many community activities, advocating for families in poverty and the elderly.

He started church basketball leagues in Poughkeepsie and Fredonia for high school youth, and along with his wife was instrumental in starting the Right to Read program for adult illiterates in Cedar Rapids, encouraged the development of the local Alzheimer's Association chapter, worked on the Patient and Family Services committee for the National Kidney Foundation of Iowa, chaired the emergency food distribution program for Linn County and was involved in many collaborative programs between human services agencies at the local, state and national levels, including helping to start the state-wide Case Management program for the frail and vulnerable elderly.

He was privileged to testify before national, state and county officials on behalf of the poor and elderly. He was very honored to be an Olympic Touch Bearer as a Community Hero in 1996.

Russ's family would like to thank the staff at the Woodlands and St. Luke's Hospice for their loving care.

Memorials in Russ's honor may be given to: First Presbyterian Church, Mount Vernon; Alzheimer's Association of ECI; National Kidney Foundation of Iowa, Older Iowan's Fund of the Heritage Area Agency on Aging; and the Meth-Wick Foundation.

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