Russell was born Aug. 9, 1929, the third child of C. George Carlson and Bertha M. Carlson (nee Danielson). He graduated from Cambridge High School in 1947. In 1951 he married Joan C. Vanderhyden of Minneapolis. Together they raised four children. Russell spent most of his life in Dalbo township as a farmer and auctioneer. He attended Salem Lutheran Church of Dalbo. After retiring, he raised Belgian Draft horses, and he was a member of the Draft Horse Association.
He was preceded in death by his wife Joan, his parents, and brother Sivert Carlson. He is survived by his children Catherine (David) Hegge, Ruth Carlson, George (Karen) Carlson, and John (Sue) Carlson, his grandchildren Jennifer Hegge, Joseph (Sarah) Hegge, Dana Carlson, Cory Carlson, Daniel Carlson, Michael Carlson and great-granddaughter, Madelyn Hegge; sister Bernice Boelter and brother Melvin (Grace) Carlson; and special friend Phyllis Green.
Services were held Monday, May 2, 2011 at Salem Lutheran Church in Dalbo with Rev. Bill Pearson officiating. Special music was provided by Wendell and Laurel Johnson, organist Roberta Erickson. Honorary pallbearers were Daniel, Michael, Cory and Dana Carlson, Joseph, Jennifer, Sarah and Madelyn Hegge. Interment was at the Salem Lutheran Cemetery.
Arrangements were under the direction and care of Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Cambridge.