Russell Lee Dobson, 78, of Edmond, Oklahoma, passed away peacefully on October 10, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his family, after a lengthy battle with merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer. Russell was born February 8, 1935, in a small home near Ripley, Oklahoma, to E.R. & Ruby Dobson. Growing up in the oil fields of central Oklahoma, Russell attended Progress Country School and later graduated from Coyle High School in 1953. While in high school, he met Willene Cole, the love of his life. They were married December 23, 1956, and shared their lives together for the next 57 years. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University, where he played on the golf team and studied psychology and theology. After three years at OBU, Russell was given the opportunity to partner with his father and expand his rural telephone business from central into western Oklahoma. This was the start of a long and successful career in business. In the early 1960s, Russell was instrumental in Dobson Telephone building the first telephone lines to hundreds of rural homes in Roger Mills, Dewey, and Beckham Counties. Through a series of acquisitions, including the purchase of McLoud Telephone Company in central Oklahoma, Dobson Telephone became one of the largest independent telephone companies in Oklahoma. In the mid-1980s, the company expanded into the fiber optic transport business by building the first fiber optic network between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, Texas. Today, that network has expanded to include over 2,000 miles of fiber in Oklahoma and Texas. In 1988, Russell was integral in the formation of Dobson Cellular Systems, which operated as a subsidiary of Dobson Telephone Company until it was spun out in 2000 simultaneously with the completion of one of the largest IPOs in Oklahoma history. In recent years, he served as a board member and advisor to Fort Mojave Telecommunications, a landline and cable television company in Arizona. Although he “semi” retired in 1993, he was a very important advisor, mentor, and board member to all Dobson companies until his death. Russell was active in state and local politics as well. He served as Mayor of Cheyenne, Oklahoma, 1980-1983. He was appointed to the Pollution Control Board by Governor Nigh. Additionally, he served as president of the Oklahoma Telephone Association in 1974. Russell loved and enjoyed life. Beyond business and family, his two other passions were world travel and golf. For much of the past 20 years, Russell, with his wife, would travel to the far reaches of the world. He would say his goal was not to just see the world but to experience its diverse local cultures. For more than 25 years, Russell was a “scratch” golfer competing and winning numerous tournaments in western Oklahoma. From the early 1980s, most of his golf was played at Oak Tree National. While golf was the game, he would explain that the real enjoyment came from the hours spent outdoors with some of his closest friends. Russell was a 32nd degree Master Mason and spent many years with his fellow Shriners helping needy children throughout Oklahoma. Russell had a very strong belief in giving back to the local community through a variety of philanthropic efforts. That commitment has enriched hundreds of needy causes throughout Oklahoma. One of his last directives with his wife was to create the Russell and Willene Dobson Foundation, thus ensuring additional giving for generations to come. Russell was many things to many people, but mostly, he was a man who loved life and liked to make everyone around him smile and laugh. During his battle with cancer, he often said because of his belief in God, he wins either way. He won today. He will be dearly missed. Russell is survived by his wife of 57 years, Willene. He was extremely proud of his family, including his children, Robbin, Everett and his wife Jeanetta, and Stephen and his wife Tina. Also, great loves in his life were his grandchildren, Christina Atman and her husband Jerry; Amy Almon and her husband Jeremy; Dana Schwab and her husband Zach; Ashley, Haley, Blake and Lauren Dobson. He is also survived by his sister, Patricia Mooreman; as well as several nieces, nephews and many great friends.