Russell Louis Devin died Oct. 12 at the age of 83. He was the widower of Helen C. Devin, who died Dec. 6, 2004.
Mr. Devin was born Sept. 23, 1929.
He was a New Milford High School teacher, coach and administrator.
His life accomplishments are described in the words on a plaque he received upon his induction into the New Milford High School Hall of Fame in 2001:
"Russell L. Devin was born in Brunswick, Maine, in 1929, the fourth of six children of Emmanuel and Anita Devin, and the only son.
"When he entered elementary school, Russ spoke no English, but by high school graduation he had compiled an outstanding academic as well as athletic record.
"He excelled in football and track, but also participated in swimming and basketball.
"At the end of his sophomore year, he enlisted in the United States Army, returning to resume his education a year later.
"Among his many accomplishments, he was the high school pole vault champion for the state of Maine.
"Using the credits he had earned under the G.I. Bill, he enrolled in Tufts University and studied chemistry and biology.
"He continued his athletic career as a 145-pound defensive safety on the football team and as a four-year member of the track team, excelling in the pole vault.
"A nonscholarship athlete, he entirely financed the final two years of his studies through summer and on-campus work, and, even though he had to withdraw for a semester to meet expenses, managed to graduate with his class.
"He continued his education, receiving his master of science degree in administration from the University of Bridgeport in 1961, and was selected to be a participant in several summer institutes sponsored by the National Science Foundation during the 1950s and the early '60s.
"Russ came to New Milford in September 1953 to begin a career of teaching and coaching that included the better part of four decades, retiring in 1987.
"He began by teaching chemistry, physics and math and was named the first chairman of the science department. He was named vice principal and eventually served as principal for two years before returning to his real interest -- the classroom.
"He established the first NMHS cross-country team and coached for 16 seasons. He coached track and field for 28 seasons.
"Although his longevity is notable, his record is dazzling. His record in cross country was 131-11-1, including 10 league and two state championships.
"His record in track and field was 168-40-1, including seven undefeated teams, 14 league championships and one state championship.
"For these accomplishments he was inducted into the Connecticut Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December, 1986.
"Russ Devin's accomplishments are not the result of his knowledge and skills alone. He brought to the classroom and the athletic field a level of dedication of intensity, integrity, challenge and caring surpassed by very few of his profession.
"Any student, whether in the classroom or on the athletic field, who was willing to meet his high level of expectation was rewarded many times over. Average students became outstanding. Average athletes became champions.
"It is with sincere admiration and deepest thanks that Russell Devin is inducted into the New Milford High School Hall of Fame this 23rd day of June, 2001."
Mr. Devin suffered a stroke in February of 1980, but he never let it keep him from living life. The impact from the stroke left him without the ability to speak, which he struggled to reclaim.
His communication skills were never fully restored and he never regained the ability to speak the French which he had learned in early childhood from his French-Canadian parents.
Mr. Devin is survived by three sisters, Gertrude Pinette, Connie LeTarte and Gisele Tucker; a daughter, Jeanne Devin, of Easton, Pa.; and two sons, John Devin, of Dixmont, Maine, with whom he lived for the last six years in what he called the "boonsticks" of Maine, and Steven Devin, of Quincy, Calif.
The funeral service will be today (Friday) at 1 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church, Route 109, New Milford.
The Lillis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the New Milford High School Booster Club, PO Box 361, New Milford CT 06776.