Ruscon founder Robert Baxter Russell dies

Robert Baxter Russell

Robert Baxter Russell, founder of Ruscon Corp., a local construction and development firm, died Monday. He was 92.

Russell was born in Rock Hill on Sept. 22, 1919. He earned a degree in civil engineering from The Citadel in 1941 and completed graduate work at Pennsylvania State College. In 1974, Russell received an honorary doctor of engineering from The Citadel.

He began his career as a draftsman for American Bridge Co. in Ambridge, Pa., followed by a year with the S.C. Highway Department as a bridge inspector. From 1942 to 1945, he was chief engineer with V.P. Loftis Co. of Charlotte and had full responsibility for the company's construction work in Charleston.

In 1949 Russell organized Ruscon Construction Co. in Charleston. Ruscon began as a commercial building company, with a staff of five people in an office on East Bay Street.

In 1974, Russell merged four corporations to form Ruscon Corp., one of the largest and most diversified construction companies in South Carolina. Ruscon built the Mills House, the Charleston Museum, several city and county parking garages, multi-family houses and various buildings for Charleston-area colleges and hospitals.

Russell held positions in numerous civic organizations. He was past director of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, past president/director of the Charleston Council of the Navy League and past president of The Citadel Development Foundation.

A private funeral will be held at Magnolia Cemetery, with a visitation at 74 Rutledge Ave. from 5 to 7 p.m. today. Arrangements by Stuhr's Downtown Chapel.