On January 7, 2018, this world got a little dimmer when Russell Edwin Vanderford, 56, entered his final resting place while driving his beloved 1970 Toyota FJ near his home on Scenic 30A in South Walton County, Fla.
Russell was born on June 29, 1961, in Kansas City, Kan. to Russell Ray Vanderford and Jo Ann Vanderford Henson. He was a star athlete at Wellington-Napoleon High School, which helped fuel his lifelong devotion to the Chiefs, Jayhawks, and Royals. He attended Southeast Missouri State University shortly before moving to Mississippi, his adopted home state. Russell enjoyed managerial positions for several companies before finding his niche in the cable industry. After many years of hard work and dedication, he started his own cable contracting company, Vantec Communications. With more leisure time, he moved to Florida, where he was able to enjoy many beautiful sunrises and sunsets with the people he loved. In recent years, Russell finally got to scratch his adventure itch, and scratch he did! From jumping out of airplanes, to zip lining through the jungle, to riding his motorcycle through the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Russell lived life to the fullest. During his travels, he fell in love with San Pedro, Belize. Priority was made to spend as much spare time there as possible and introduce many of his family and friends to the small island town.
To know Russell was to love him. His sense of humor and ability to make people feel at ease gained him many friends along his journey. However, at the end of the day no matter where his adventures took him, he looked forward to nothing more than spending quality time with his mother and his two children. The void his sudden loss has created for them and so many others, will never be filled, but maybe if we all tried to see things as he did, we could find, as he did, that there is still a lot of light left in this world.
Russell is survived by his mother, Jo Ann Henson of Hernando, son, John Andrew (Drew) Vanderford of Senatobia; daughter, Summer Vanderford Flanagan (Lyle) of Winona and their mother, Libby Vanderford of Senatobia; granddaughter, Eliza Jo Flanagan, and dog, Max; sisters, Retha Gayle Mabry of Clinton, and Pam Boykin (Gary) of Senatobia, as well as nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Russell Ray Vanderford, who passed away in 2004.
The family received friends at Ray-Nowell Funeral Home in Senatobia on January 19, 2018, from 6 – 8 p.m. There was no public funeral service or interment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to sagahumanesociety.org (San Pedro, Belize) or waltonreefs.org (Santa Rosa Beach, Florida). Ray-Nowell Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.