Gilliam, Calvin

December 11, 2004

On December 7, 2004, CALVINVisistation at 2140 N. Fulton Avenue on Sunday, 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Monday, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. The family will receive friends at Leadenhall Baptist Church, 1021 Leadenhall St. on Monday at 6:30 P.M. Funeral at 7 P.M. Baltimore, Maryland died November 23, 2004 at the age of 26. Russell was a graduate of Heritage High School and Maryville College (B.A. 2000). He was an active member in good standing of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Russell, a beautiful, compassionate, honest and courageous person, was known for his big heart. He held a witty, playful sense of humor and brought laughter to those around him. With each smile, his soul opened for a moment. He was a great member of the community at Maryville College, where he was an asset to the theatre program. He was a fine friend to many. Highly educated and intelligent but modest and unassuming, he saw all as his equal and lived a simple life. He possessed unusual wisdom for someone so young. In numerous ways, he exemplified the best of humanity. He inspired many with his quiet, Christian spirituality. Friends remember him sitting in Meetings for Worship and other Quaker gatherings, typically with his eyes closed, a smile playing on his face, hinting of joy and serenity, providing a grounding force for others. He served on various committees in the Religious Society of Friends, both locally and nationally. Russell reflected the Light within him, and made the Light a central part of all of his relationships. A gifted writer, he aspired to be a playwright. He was working on a play about Galileo when he died. Family, friends, and professional associates encouraged him to publish his poetry, which had a way of capturing the essence of life in novel and unique ways. In turn, he was a source of inspiration and encouragement for creativity in others. Russell nurtured his passion for theater both at work and at play. He shared his imagination, thoughtfulness, and intellect for nearly four years on the box office staff of CENTERSTAGE, ultimately becoming Administrative & Group Ticketing Coordinator. He served as dramaturg for the world premiere of The Spectator for Baltimore's Run of the Mill Theater. An avid theatergoer, Russell was particularly fond of works by Bertolt Brecht, Edward Albee, and Caryl Churchill. Russell, nicknamed "Booboo", was a wonderful companion who brought balance and stability to his marriage, opening his heart and soul to a deeply committed mutual respect, friendship and love with his partner. Their love for each other was inspiring. Russell adored good cuisine and was a skilled cook/a talent he credited to his mother. In the process of remodeling the 200 year-old row home in which he and his partner lived in downtown Baltimore, Russell applied skills taught to him by his father. He loved his family dearly, especially his new nephew. Russell leaves behind his partner of 7 years, Kevin-Douglas Olive, of Baltimore City; father Lowell Groff and mother Carolyn Groff of Seymour, TN; sister Jane Groff of Sevierville, TN; brother Walter Groff, sister-in-law Amber Groff, and nephew Ethan Groff of Salem, OR; the Robert, Sandra, and Jesse Olive family of Knoxville, TN; and scores of friends across North America and Europe. He was dearly loved and will be sadly missed. Russell was laid to rest at the Friends Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. A memorial service in the manner of Friends is planned for Saturday, December 11 at 3 p.m. at the Homewood Friends Meeting House, 3107 N. Charles Street. A secular tribute to his life, including readings from his play, New Age, will be held Wednesday, December 15 at 7:30 pm in CENTERSTAGE's Head Theater, 700 N. Calvert St. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Russell Groff may be made to West Knoxville Friends Meeting, 1517 Meetinghouse Lane, Knoxville, TN 37931.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.