SKOWHEGAN — Philip Russakoff, 86, of Skowhegan passed away Thursday, Oct. 28, in the arms of his loving wife in the home he built in 1955.
He was born in Skowhegan, Sept. 5, 1924, the seventh and last child of Russian immigrants, Manya and Susman Russakoff.
The family moved to Boston in 1925, and returned in 1938 to make their permanent home in Skowhegan, thus having each of their children in Skowhegan schools at one time or another.
Philip graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1941; started studies at the University of Maine in Orono and transferred to Bowdoin College, where he graduated in 1945.
He was a teaching fellow at Wesleyan University for two semesters. He graduated from Columbia University in 1947, with a degree in optometry. He started his practice of Optometry in Skowhegan in 1947 with a part-time practice in Bingham in 1948 to 1954. When he retired in 1994 after 47 years, he transferred the practice to Drs. Dunn and Pakulski.
He married Maxine (Hobert) Bradeen on Dec. 28, 1985. They enjoyed many happy times together, attending jazz events, traveling about the country to family events as well as in the state of Maine, London, and Paris. An erudite and avid reader, he and Maxine were often observed reading in the chairs by the window, usually with a dog at their feet and listening to MPBN or jazz.
He was a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. Lifetime member, he served as president of the Maine Optometric Association in addition to committees of the NE Regional Association and the National Optometric Association. He was the book review editor of the American Optometric Association from 1966 to 1975.
Philip was a member of the advisory council to the Maine Department of Human Services, member of the State of Maine Comprehensive Council, member of the committee to consider use of laser in eye care in Maine.
He had a phenomenal memory for facts, politics, books, etc. A very skilled story teller, his repertoire was enormous and he remembered and enjoyed telling the right anecdote for any situation to friends and family.
In addition to his wife, Maxine, of Skowhegan, he leaves his beloved daughter and husband, Marcia and Bob Ellis of Kennebunkport and Chicago; his beautiful and fun granddaughter, Libby Ellis Lowe and her husband, Erik, of Chicago; his stepdaughters, Carole Wilbur of Florida, and Dr. Janet L’Abbe of Virginia; stepgrandchildren, Terri Andrews and husband, Mark, and Tracie Esposito and husband, Jamie; stepgreat-grandchildren; Tyler Wilbur, Matthew and Jacob Andrews, and Sophia Maxine Esposito, all of Florida; stepbrother, Calvin Hobert of Wilton; ex-wife, Arlene Lowe; and loving nieces and nephews and their families throughout the country.
He will be missed by his many friends and his Shih Tzus, Liza and Mazel Tov.
His brothers and sisters, Joseph, Abraham, Rebecca, Elisabeth, Ida, and Archie, all born in Skowhegan and their spouses predeceased him; as did his ex-wife, the former Barbara Berman; their daughter, Jane Louise, a SIDS baby; and a stepgrandson, Richard Wilbur.
Special appreciation goes to Edmund Ervin, M.D., the nurses of Redington Fairview General Hospital, Oncology unit, to Rita of Bridges, and Sherry of Beacon Hospice for their tender loving care.
Condolences may be offered at www.smartandedwardsfh.com.