Former Nixa Fire Chief Steve Russell died at his home on May 24. He was 66.
Russell's career in firefighting began in 1976 with the Nixa Rural Fire Department and what was then the City of Nixa Fire Department. In 1978, Russell was chosen as chief of the Nixa Rural Fire Department, and held the role until fire service in Nixa was reorganized.
Russell was the first fire chief of the Nixa Fire Protection District when it was established in August 1986. He continued to serve as chief until February 2002, a span of 15 and a half years.
In June 2020, Russell ran for a position on the Nixa Fire Protection District Board of Directors and was elected to serve for six years. His passing creates a vacancy to be filled in the future.
Friends, family and firefighters remembered Russell at a memorial service June 1, at Nixa First Assembly of God Church.
Former volunteer firefighters established a fund in Russell's honor, proceeds from which will go toward the continued upkeep of a memorial stone at the Nixa Fire Protection District headquarters on Nicholas Road. The stone honors firefighters who are memorialized with a last call. To date, they are Finis Gold (1987), Shane Whitehill (1994), Bob Lutgen (1996)), Sherry Johnston (1999), Lynda Lutgen-Swartz (2002) and Donald Harrison (2002).