John Brendan Russell was born on November 10, 1962 in Baltimore, MD and peacefully passed on to his eternal reward on June 23, 2020 at his home in Brentwood, TN. He was surrounded by family and close friends. John was a 1980 graduate of Highland Park High School in Highland Park, IL. He received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December of 1985 and his Juris Doctorate from the Nashville School of Law in May of 2014. He was proudly sworn in by the Tennessee Supreme Court and received his license to practice law In October of 2014 and opened Russell Real Estate Law.
He married the love of his life Melissa Kort on October 8, 1988 and they had three children: Jack, Natalie and Paige, whose early years were spent in Arlington Heights, IL while their father worked a successful career in all aspects of commercial real estate with companies including Grubb & Ellis, KJ Partners, CB Commercial, Trammell Crow, ProLogis, The Phillipsborn Company, and Kensington Realty Advisors. He started his own company (Greenfield Partners) that bought and remediated contaminated properties.
In the spring of 2003, he made the decision to move the family to Nashville to pursue a lifelong dream of songwriting after making the cut in an audition to play at the famed Bluebird Café. He hosted and played in several rounds at The Bluebird, always winning the audience over with his wit and humor. While in Nashville he released several CD’s and performed as “JR and the Roadkill Choir” to the delight of live audiences and fans worldwide who continue to discover his fun and funny music through popular streaming services. He fulfilled the dream when he opened for Ray Price at the Ryman Auditorium.
John couldn’t stay away from real estate for long. He founded Concord Commercial Realty. He invested his time and money in Nashville industrial properties and mentored affiliate brokers as well as anyone else who wanted to learn about the Nashville real estate market. His properties were tenanted in part by small business owners who were able to get off the ground with his assistance. John delighted in finding and putting together real estate deals that benefited the buyer, the seller, and the lender alike. John was a man of his word. His integrity was recognized and respected by all who had the pleasure of working with him.
John was dedicated to his roles as husband and father so he worked out of his home for the last two decades so he could spend quality time with Melissa and the kids. He gave up on golf and other hobbies that would take him away from them because he figured he already spent too much time working. No doubt he could have spent more time fishing though.
He will be missed dearly by those he loved including his wife and children, his father Charles A. Russell III (Anita) of Arvada, CO; sister Suzy Wickham (Tom) of Danville, PA; brother Edward Russell (Pagely) of San Francisco, CA; sister Carly Russell (James) of Golden, CO; stepfather Wayne Dick (JoAnne) of Towson, MD and a host extended family. He was preceded in death by his mother Jane Russell Dick and beloved Uncle Bob Russell.
A Celebration of Life will be held outdoors on Saturday, July 18th from 4-6pm at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN with two additional future celebrations to be held in the Chicago and Baltimore areas for extended family and friends. Donations are being received in John’s honor by the Leiomyosarcoma Support & Direct Research Foundation on their website lmsdr.org.
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