Atlanta . . . The King Center CEO, Bernice A. King, today issued the following statement on the death of Mr. Herman Russell:

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that The King Center acknowledges the passing of one of Atlanta’s extraordinary civic leaders and entrepreneurs, Mr. Herman J. Russell.

“Mr. Russell served with dedication and distinction as a former member of The King Center’s Board of Directors. He was a beloved personal friend and supporter of both my father Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and my mother Mrs. Coretta Scott King. I will always remember with fondness the times that I spent in his family home and playing with his children.

“As a pioneering African American business leader, Mr. Russell’s impact on the city of Atlanta and the world has left an indelible imprint on skylines, not only in Atlanta, but throughout the country, for generations to come. We, at The King Center, will be forever grateful for his support and contribution to our history. Many people may not know the important role he played in advising and helping our founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, in the late 1970s and early 1980s to bring to fruition her vision of an edifice that would serve as the official living memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   In 1985, H.J. Russell & Company was presented The King Center’s Annual Salute to Greatness Award, one of the King Center’s highest honors. This award is given on an annual basis to select individuals and corporations in recognition of their notable leadership and contributions to society that move us closer to becoming the Beloved Community.

“The world and Atlanta have indeed lost a remarkable individual and humanitarian.  Mr. Herman Russell will be sorely missed by many, but he leaves behind an exceptional legacy of community concern and corporate social responsibility that will be continued through the outstanding work of his children.  The King Center extends its sincere prayers and condolences during this difficult time to Mrs. Sylvia Russell, his sons (spouses), daughter and the entire H.J. Russell Family.