Francis Arthur Russell

Francis Arthur Russell

Bar Harbor


Francis Arthur Russell (Russ), 74, a Massachusetts native and retired Bar Harbor businessman, died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 11 at his home in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. He was born Aug. 18, 1946, in Boston, to Janet Burns Russell and Francis Russell.

Russ grew up in Newton, West Springfield and Sudbury, Mass., and graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury High School in 1964 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. After postgraduate work in biochemistry at the University of South Florida, Tampa, he became a medical researcher at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He was a part of early research on the blood-thinning properties of aspirin and often recommended low-dose aspirin to family and friends well before it became a thing

In the late ’70s, he decided to go a different direction in his career, moving to Bar Harbor and using his early familiarity with computer programming to assist a variety of businesses new to technology. He also did some bartending. This led to him leasing an old lobster pound in Bar Harbor and converting it to a full-service restaurant. He and his partners dubbed it the Chart Room, which operated from 1983 to 1989. In 1990, he had the opportunity to purchase a restaurant in Hulls Cove and the Chart Room found a new home with a new partner. He and Jeff Needham co-ran it until Russ’s retirement in 2009. He also renovated an old fire-damaged house in Hulls Cove that he converted into a bed and breakfast. Known as the Twin Gables, it opened in 1989 and was operated for a number of years by his wife.

As a child, Russ loved his summers in Popponesset on Cape Cod. Skiing and whitewater rafting were early passions as well as science fiction books and movies. He became an avid and skillful darts player and loved going to tournaments. He was also an excellent chess player and coached the local elementary chess team for a number of years. Golfing at Kebo and lunch at the Thirsty Whale were favorite local activities as well as cheering his daughter Kailyn on at cross-country meets. He was active and vocal in local politics and found it amusing that after 25 years in Maine he still had to identify himself at town meetings as being “from away.” He began splitting his time between Maine and Costa Rica after his retirement and eventually moved there full time in 2014. There he met many other expats, and he enjoyed entertaining them with his stories at lunches and friendly poker games. He especially enjoyed long walks on the beach with his dog pack.

Russ (or Frank to some) is survived by his wife of 31 years, Melinda (Mindy) Hill, and their children Trey and Kailyn and by Patricia Russell of Plainville, Mass., daughter from a previous marriage. He was predeceased by his first wife, Sandra, and a daughter, Stacey Russell. Also surviving are sisters Mary Ellen (Bunny) Furlong of Mystic, Conn., Joan Chambers of East Falmouth, Nancy Russell of Lynn and Cynthia Moretti of Milford — all in Massachusetts.

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