Russell Michael Pence

Russell Michael Pence, 96, of Richmond, died peacefully Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at his home in Richmond.

Russell was born June 14, 1921, to Noah Michael and Martha Mae (Fifer) Pence in Rockingham, Ray County, the youngest of seven children.  He married Wilma Penny, of Hardin, Dec. 27, 1946; she survives at the home.

In addition to his wife, survivors include: one son and daughter-in-law, Dale and Jill Pence, of Richmond; one daughter and son-in-law, Penny and Mark Kugler, of Richmond; one son-in-law, Gary Manning, of Richmond; eight grandchildren and spouses, Aaron and Angela Manning, Ryan and Tammy Kugler, Chad and Amy Burnine, Rusty and Megan Kugler, Denise Klee, Regan Kugler, Lacy Kay, Catherine Pence and Jackson Pence; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Family members who preceded Russell in death in addition to his parents and his two brothers and four sisters include: one daughter, Diane Manning, and one great-granddaughter, Luna Marie Kugler.

Russell attended Union Grade School and Central High School.  He was inducted in the Army Air Corps in October of 1942.  He was stationed in India (China, Burma, India Theatre) where he served as an airplane mechanic crew chief in the Air Transport Command.  Upon returning from the war, Russell started farming and working in the Ford tractor dealership in Richmond.  Because of his love for and experience in agri-business, he purchased the dealership in 1962.  After selling the Ford tractor dealership, he became the first Vermeer dealership in the state of Missouri and sold the first Vermeer bailer in the state.

Russell was an active member of Henrietta Baptist Church, where he served in many capacities including as trustee and a member of the church building committee.  The position he last held was as church greeter, which he loved doing every Sunday rain or shine.

Russell and Wilma celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past December, a testimony to their love for and devotion to each other.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to New Hope Cemetery Association north of Hardin.

Visitation is 1 to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Thurman Funeral Home Chapel, Richmond. Funeral services follow at 2 p.m. in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in New Hope Cemetery, north of Hardin where military honors will be conducted by Ray County Veterans.  Online condolences may be left at

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