The final chapter in the life of Russell M. "Uncle Russ" Chittenden, 96, of Paducah, came to a peaceful conclusion on November 29, 2018, at Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital.
Russ was a graduate of Augusta Tilghman High School and Michigan State University and retired Vice President-Director of Industrial Design for Florence & Hutcheson, Inc. Consulting Engineers, Paducah.
A four-year veteran of World War II, he served 35 months with the 872 AB Engineer Aviation Battalion in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations. He enlisted as a Private and was discharged as a Captain. He received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with battle stars for New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa, a Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation and Japan Occupation Medals. He was a member of American Legion Post 31 and Life Member and Past Commander of Jackson Harris Post 1191 VFW, which he served as commander in 1951.
A lifetime of civic endeavor started with his induction into the Paducah Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1946. He became president in 1954 and was voted outstanding local president in Kentucky by the then Kentucky Junior Chamber of Commerce for 1954-1955. He was selected one of the "Three Outstanding Young Men in Kentucky" by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1956. He became manager of the Paducah Chamber (then Association) of Commerce in 1957 and served there until mid 1964. He was voted "Outstanding Local Chamber of Commerce Executive" in cities under 100,000 population in the southeast by the Southeastern Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 1963. He also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Organization Executives in 1961-62.
On January 13, 1965, then Governor Ned Breathitt honored Russ for his contribution to the travel industry of Kentucky. The award read, "During six years as manager of the Paducah Chamber of Commerce, Russ Chittenden's untiring, effective efforts and his willing cooperation with State Government and others engaged in tourist and travel promotion have resulted in vast economic benefits for Western Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky." In other remarks the Governor told the Louisville audience that "among other things", he felt Russ was more responsible for Congressional approval of the Land Between the Lakes National Wildlife Area than any other person. He was the key lobbyist to Congress for the development of Lake Barkley and the Land Between the Lakes. His efforts in this included meeting with several members of Congress, Department of the Interior, Governors and U.S. Representatives. The culmination of these efforts concluded on July 1, 1966, with the flooding of what is now Lake Barkley. Two years earlier he had convinced the U.S. Department of Agriculture that about 3,500 acres of land surrounding the "Atomic Plant" in Western McCracken County should be sold to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife for $1.00. It became the nucleus for the West Kentucky Wildlife Management area. Russ's lobbying efforts also included Interstate 24 being run through McCracken County.
He published two wild game cookbooks that are sold nationally, wrote an "outdoor" column for years for the "Park City Daily News," Bowling Green, produced several maps of the Kentucky-Barkley Lakes area, and a map, now in use, of the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area. His "Waterfowler's Map of Ballard County" (Image Graphics) received a Best of Category award for maps from the Printing Industry of the South, 1980.
Russ was one of the organizers of the Good Ole Boys Barbecue Team which has raised thousands of dollars for various Western Kentucky "do good" organizations. The team won BBQ On the River in 2004 and were the State Champions for Wild Game Barbecue in Louisville in 2003 and 2005.
A research of old newspaper files found that Russ had been commissioned "Honorary Commodore of Kentucky Lake" by Governor Bert Combs, 1963; appointed a Colonel, Aide de Camp, Commissioners Staff by Glen Lovern, Commissioner of State Police, 1963; appointed "Admiral of Kentucky Waterways" by J.O. Matrick, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Conservation, 1964; appointed Vice Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Kentucky Travel Division by Governor Bert Combs, 1969; served as Co-Chairman of Southern Governors Conference at Kentucky Lake, 1966 and received an Outstanding Grandfather's Award which was undated.
In more recent years he received the League of Kentucky Sportsmen's "Presidents Award" for Outstanding Conservation Achievement, 2000; Duck's Unlimited 2003 Conservation Service Award; Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding work to improve wildlife habitat by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; 2000 "Volunteer of the Year" by the Kentucky Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. He served a number of years as Chairman of the Paducah Civil Service Commission. He was a Kentucky Colonel and Duke of Paducah, a member of Fountain Avenue Methodist Church; and so on ad infinitum.
He is survived by his daughter, Sallee Campbell of Paducah; grandchildren, Jay Campbell of Paducah, Heston Campbell and wife Kristy of Paducah, Hunter Campbell and wife Hannah of Louisville; great-grandchildren, Nick Cox, Catherine, Jack, Emma, Cullen, Caitlin, Lindsay and Aubrey Campbell, Katelynn and Haley Harris, Russ and Gus Campbell.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Allison E. Chittenden; daughter, Alicia Kay Chittenden; brother, Howard T. Chittenden; his parents, W.B. and Lora Morefield Chittenden; and his son-in-law John L. Campbell.
Services will be held on Friday, December 7, 2018, at 1 p.m. at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah with Rev. Eddie Smith officiating. Burial with military honors will follow at Maplelawn Park Cemetery in Paducah.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 6, 2018, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Good Ole Boys Russ Chittenden Scholarship Fund (WKCTC), P.O. Box 7380, Paducah, KY 42002
You may leave a message for the family or light a candle of hope on our website at www.milnerandorr.com.