With the help of his beloved wife and kids, Ernest Russell II of New Gloucester built in 2003 his dream cabin. It is near Moosehead Lake, where he loved to hunt and fish, and where he built so many fond memories with his family.

“He loved the outdoors. He loved Greenville,” said Russell’s daughter, Melissa. “That was the first thing he thought about when the weekend came.”

Russell left that camp and his wife, Wendy, for a day of hunting Nov. 29. When he did not return, she notified the Maine Warden Service, which after conducting a search found Russell, 55, on Prong Pond Mountain in Beaver Cove, about 10 miles north of Greenville, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Maine Warden Service and the state Medical Examiner’s Office are still investigating the incident, but it appears the shooting was an accident, said Deborah Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“All indications are that it was accidental, but we are still waiting for that final determination,” Turcotte said Wednesday.

In addition to his wife, Russell, a longtime business owner and graduate of Gray-New Gloucester High School, is survived by his four daughters, Melissa May, Kim Russell, Jodell Wilkinson and Daphne Russell; one son, Dennis Russell; and five grandchildren.

“It was just a terrible accident,” Melissa May said Tuesday.

She remembered her father as a responsible family man, who loved his children and his wife of 22 years, and loved to say what was on his mind.

“He loved politics, loved his country,” she said. “He was very passionate.”

Russell graduated from Gray-New Gloucester High School in 1972, and first worked for Porteous Mitchell and Braun department store. In 1992, he started Window Reps of Maine, a wholesale building products distributor that was located in Portland before moving to Lewiston in 1996.

“He started it from scratch,” said his daughter. “He did everything to the extreme. He was a very proud man.”

Many residents of the New Gloucester area also got to know Russell through martial arts, which he taught first at Newbegin Gym in Gray and then in his home, until the business demanded too much of his time.

An avid fisherman and hunter, Russell loved the Moosehead Lake region, and the family looked forward to their annual trips to Greenville for the town’s Fourth of July celebration and the International Seaplane Fly-In, his daughter said.

It was a dream come true, then, when in 2003, the family built the Greenville camp, a wonderful moment for the Russells that mirrored so many the family enjoyed over the years, his daughter said.

“The Russells do everything together,” she said.

Ernest Russell

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