Dr. Russell N. Abbott, a longtime resident of Rockland and Owls Head passed away quietly on March 25, 2013 after a long illness. He was 87 and was predeceased by his beloved wife Doris (Hampton) Abbott in 2004.

He is survived by his son, Randall Abbott and his wife Christine of Fiskdale, Mass., his daughters, Sharlene Abbott Schwalbenberg and her husband Richard of Brownfield and Suzanne Philbrook and her husband James of Owls Head. He is also survived by his grandchildren Sarah Abbott, Jamieson Abbott, Jessica Philbrook and her boyfriend Taimark Walkine, Cassandra Thompson and her husband Damian, Justin Philbrook and his wife Emily, Meghan Earnshaw and her husband Jeff, Andrew Schwalbenberg, Marc Schwalbenberg as well as his twin great-grandsons, DeAndre and Mason Thompson and his brother, Kendall Abbott of Vero Beach, Fla.

Russell was born May 4, 1925 in Hartford, Conn. and raised in West Medford, Mass. where he graduated from Medford High School. He graduated from Michigan State College in 1947 as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with honors. At Michigan State he worked two jobs to put himself through school and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. While at Michigan State he was introduced to Doris Hampton (his roommate’s sister), who was pursuing a degree in medical technology. The two dated, were engaged and married in 1947. They were married for 59 wonderful years and he looked forward to the day they would be reunited.

Following graduation, Russ and Doris moved to Bangor where Russ completed a residency in veterinary medicine before moving to Ash Point and then Rockland where he established the Rockland Animal Hospital, which he operated for over 38 years. His practice became more specialized as the field of veterinary medicine became more sophisticated and by the 1970s he specialized in veterinary ophthalmology, writing several major papers for publication in this emerging field. He was a career-long member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Maine Veterinary Medical Association where he chaired the Education Committee for 17 years and was awarded the J.F.Witter Award for Outstanding Accomplishments.

During his years in the area, Russ was active in the Lions Club, the Maine Seafood (Lobster) Festival (where he was parade chairman for seven years) and the Rockland/SAD 5 School Board, serving several terms including the period during which the Rockland High School on Broadway was built. He took enormous pride in his work on the Building Committee and the durability of that facility over the decades.

Russ was a devoted Christian and he and Doris were instrumental in the spiritual growth of the Owls Head Baptist Church. After retiring from veterinary medicine, he became an ordained American Baptist minister and served as a relief pastor for churches along the coast and throughout the islands. He was active in Macedonian Ministries and was selected to represent the United States at a worldwide Macedonian Ministries assembly in Great Britain. Russ spent countless hours each day studying the Bible and taught many Sunday school classes and Bible studies over the years. Later in life, Russ became a member of the West Rockport Baptist Church and enjoyed lively theological discussions with Pastor English.

Russ thoroughly enjoyed the community and friendships made at The Homestead in Cushing where he lived for the past 8 months and enjoyed the care of the dedicated staff there. In his final days, he was surrounded by his family and looked forward to returning home to the Lord and rejoining his beloved Doris. Holding hands with his children, he thanked the Lord for his family and their enduring strength as well as the way his children have stayed bound together throughout the years. He will be deeply missed for his wit, humor, kindness and faith as well as for the life lessons he taught so many about family, faith, the value of hard work, and love for others.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit Friday, March 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a celebration of Russ’ life will be held Saturday, March 30, at 11 a.m. The Rev. David English will officiate. A reception will follow at 104 Limerock, adjacent to the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers and in appreciation of the loving care given by the Cushing Homestead staff, donations may be made in Russ’ name to: The Cushing Homestead, Activity Fund, Homeshare, Inc., P.O. Box 389, S. Thomaston, ME 04858.

To share a memory or condolence with Russ’ family, please visit his online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.