Robert Russell turns 70
A CAKE decorated with his favourite drinks - Johnny Walker Blue and Hennessy - was among the highlights for prominent Montego Bay businessman Robert Russell’s 70th birthday party celebrations last Saturday.
Surrounded by family, friends and close associates at his beautiful waterfront Pier One Restaurant, in Montego Bay, Russell was praised for his “love for life” as well as being a great philanthropist and a “man whose love for family” is second to none.
“There are a lot of persons who have gone to their graves without knowing who their true friends were,” former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, a very close friend of Russell, noted. “I, however, will go to my grave knowing that in Robert Russell I have had a lifelong friend, a true friend, and a man who has contributed a lot to this country.”
Golding said the hallmark of a true friend is when “you are in difficulty and the chips are down” and when someone “like a Robert Russell is around ... for better or for worse.”
For his part, son, Jason Russell said that his father was more than just a role model but someone who has "probably lived the life of four persons during his 70 years on Earth."
"We might as well be celebrating his 200th birthday because I am convinced he has lived the life of four persons," the younger Russell, to tumultuous laughter explained. "My father has always taught us, me and my other siblings, to be respectful of others and to always remain true to ourselves. We would never have made it this far without staying true to those principles."
Elder son, Robin, also spoke proudly about his father, describing him as a man of scruples and someone who "is as loyal as they come".
But perhaps the highlight of the evening came from Russell's granddaughter, Chelsea, who dropped this gem: "Grandad, when I grow up, I want to be just like you." There was hardly a dry eye in the room from that moment.
Johnny Gourzong, another close confidant of Russell, said that one of the things that have stayed with him over the years is Russell's "unassumingness" and said that he was "someone who is never in awe of people or their positions."
Russell, who was visibly moved by the many testimonials, said that he was happy and completely comfortable with how he has lived his life, adding: "When I look around this room and see all the friends and family members that are here, it's telling me I must have done some things right in my life."
"I am especially thankful to Red Stripe for my gift of Johnny Walker Blue," he quipped. "Everybody knows that along with my Hennessy ... that's how I enjoy myself."
The birthday boy was serenaded by songstress Nadine Sutherland, who drove from Kingston to celebrate with her friend.