Cover photo for Andy Russell's Obituary
Andy Russell Profile Photo

Andy Russell

d. March 1, 2024

After a lifetime of bold adventure, Andy Russell passed away from complications of Alzheimer's Disease and RSV, leaving numerous friends, family, and fans reconciling their loss. He is mourned by his wife, Cindy (Dear) Russell; son, Andy Russell (Brigitte Kolloch-Russell); and daughter, Amy Russell Zemper (Dave Zemper), who are his children with first wife, Nancy T. Russell; brother, Will Russell (Mary Lee); and stepson, Bill Ellis. Andy was an enthusiastic and energetic grandfather to Carsten and Finn Russell, Milo, Jackie and Derek Zemper, and Brody and Kimberly Ellis.

Andy's many achievements spanned from the football field to the boardroom and beyond. Born in Detroit, Michigan, his family eventually moved to St. Louis, Missouri and he began his journey to football fame at Ladue High School and the University of Missouri, where he earned his MBA. After being selected in the 16th round in the 1963 NFL draft, Andy had a 14-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, interrupted by a two-year commitment to the military. As a 10 year Captain of the Steelers, Andy played on the winning Super Bowl IX and X teams, was a seven time All Pro Linebacker, and was honored as a member of the Steelers All-Time Team, NFL All-Decade Team for the 70s and was selected as one of the NFL's 300 Greatest Players. Russell was also an inaugural inductee into the Steelers Hall of Honor in 2017. Andy Russell, Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert are still considered one of the greatest linebacking trios in NFL history.

It may surprise people to know that football was not the source of Andy's financial success. In fact, it was never his only job as he was also a successful business entrepreneur during the entirety of his football career and beyond. Russell was one of the founding partners of Russell, Rea, and Zappala, an investment banking firm, and a partner at Laurel Mountain Partners and Liberty Tire Recycling, both investment firms focused on environmental services. He loved the challenge of working with his business team and friends; Sam Zacharias, Jeff Kendall, Don Rea, and Charlie Zappala.

Russell's many civic and charitable contributions have been made through the Russell Charitable Foundation founded in 1999, including over 10 million dollars for Children's Hospital through the Andy Russell Charitable Golf Tournament. His most recent charitable endeavor, Everyone's Playground, a park for children with special needs, was completed in 2023. Despite the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease, Andy continued to engage with his fans and happily sign autographs. His family is grateful for the love that never wavered from Steeler Nation.

Andy tirelessly challenged himself mentally and physically. He is the author of three books about his adventures both on and off the field. He was the ultimate mountain man, completing the Colorado Grand Slam, summiting all 54 14,000-foot peaks, 28 of them with his wife, Cindy. A frequent partner in his outdoor adventures was Steeler's center, Ray Mansfield, with whom Andy completed the Hunter's Island Route, a 145-mile canoe race in Minnesota/Canada, and the Texas Water Safari. He also encouraged many family members and friends on yearly rim to rim hikes in the Grand Canyon. With his two children, Andy and Amy, he climbed both Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. He considered himself fortunate to travel around the world many times for both business and pleasure. As Andy would often say, paraphrasing Coach Noll, "Life is a journey and you never arrive".

We (Andy's family), want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the admiration and affection shown to him throughout his public life. It was especially appreciated by Andy himself in his later years.

A private memorial service by invitation only is planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the UPMC Alzheimer's Research Center at

Arrangements entrusted to WILLIAM SLATER II FUNERAL SERVICE, Scott Twp., 15220.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Andy Russell, please visit our flower store.


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