Russell Van Arsdale, Jr.

Obituary of Russell Van Arsdale, Jr.

BREWER - Russell G. Van Arsdale, Jr died on June 10, 2020 at his home after an eight month battle with cancer. He was born in Providence, RI September 28, 1948. He was the son of Russell Van Arsdale, Sr and Aileen MacPhee Van Arsdale. When you are born into a family of entertainment and news, it seems that you find yourself pursuing both fields. Russ Senior was a reporter and news editor for many years at many stations including WJAR in Providence and KABC in Los Angeles. Russ’s mother, Aileen, was a singer and pianist who sang on the radio with Boston Bean Town and later performed with Russ’s stepdad, Al Rawley while living in Canada. They returned to the states and settled in the Bangor area with live, local shows on WLBZ and WVII. With Al on guitar and Aileen at the piano, their shows featured music and interviews with local celebrities. They promoted many local causes, but the one closest to their hearts was Pine Tree Camp where his brother, Alan still spends many happy weeks. When they could no longer host the annual fund raising show on WABI, Russ assumed those duties. Russ began his broadcasting career at the University of Maine at the student radio station in the late 60s. Following his graduation in 1970, broadcasting took him to Presque Isle, St. John, NB, a very cold Winnipeg, and even Redlands, California before he returned to the Bangor area to report the news at both WABI and WLBZ. His writing skills came in handy as he penned the Consumer Forum columns for the Bangor Daily News as executive director of Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s Grassroots Consumer Group. His strength was in clearly presenting information that could be used by everyone. He was a natural teacher whether in front of a chorus, a Tai Chi class or a group of Bone Builders. Russ was a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society for 40 years. At eighteen, he began singing in a quartet that rehearsed in a barbershop in Cherryfield, Maine. He celebrated the Mainely Music Chorus of Bangor, which he later directed, as not just an outlet for his need to sing but a source of so many grand friendships. He sang in several quartets over the years and could substitute in any part if another quartet needed a fourth for a performance; his wife referred to his as a utility barbershopper. When the society began welcoming women into the group, he was one of the early adopters even arranging some music to accommodate the differences in men’s and women’s vocal ranges. Many other strong friendships developed over the years with golfing pals. One was with Ed Rice, another Bangor High class of ‘66 grad, and they kept their friendship alive with golf course adventures and travels. He was hoping to meet the Covid 19 challenges with others at Rocky Knoll in Orrington. In lieu of services, we would ask that everyone answer the question Russ always asked when he met someone new: “Where do you like to do your singing?” The usual answers were the shower, the car, or the occasional I can’t sing. Russ always suggested people start small. So if you think of Russ today, sing a short tune and thank him for the encouragement. He is survived by his wife of nearly forty years, Maralie “Jane” Fogg Van Arsdale of Brewer; his brother, Alan Rawley of Bangor and sister-in-law, Judy Fogg of Lincoln. Those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to support the work of Pine Tree Camp, Rome, Maine at
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In Russ' memory, sing a short tune and ask somebody, "Where do you like to do your singing?"
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