Russell  Stratton

Published 5:35 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

Russell Stratton passed away peacefully in his home on Sept. 21, 2023. He was born Feb. 24, 1937, in Lake Charles, La., to Azelie “Lee” and Kenneth Stratton. Russell graduated from LaGrange High School in 1955. Russell was Co-Captain of his football team and enjoyed some notoriety as a running back. His success on the football field led to a football scholarship to Tulane University, where he started, as a freshman, as fullback. Later Russell returned to Lake Charles in 1957 and met his wife of 64 years Earline (Soileau) Stratton of Elton. He graduated from McNeese with a BS in Geology in 1960. After a brief career in the oil industry, Russell and his younger brother, Fred Stratton, started Stratton Electric, later renamed Stratton Inc. Russell benefitted significantly with the contributions of his wife, Earline, who worked in the various businesses every day.  Russell often stated that she was the reason he succeeded. They continued as an Electrical Contractor for 46 years before retiring. In addition to Stratton Inc., Russell partnered with Jack Johnson and started Allen Electric Inc. This partnership lasted many years and each of their individual strengths created a synergism of fruitful results. They had a lasting friendship and each had too much respect to ever argue or disagree. Later, Russell started Stratton Mechanical Inc. with the aid of Wyatt Sharpe, who installed air conditioning systems, and Rick Travis, a naturally gifted sheet metal fabricator, as they enjoyed success as one of the first sheet metal companies in Lake Charles.  In the early 80’s, Russell got his state license in general contracting. After building the River’s Fence Company buildings on Fruge St., Russell gained a new respect for the trials of general contractors and returned to electrical contracting exclusively.

Russell was a lifelong student. He had one of the first computer estimating systems (1972) and maintained his love of technology, often taking classes on the ever-evolving computer programs. In the 1970s the family took up camping and eventually obtained a 30’ motor home. Later Russell later took up aviation and was trained by Don Chamblee; a rival Electrical Contractor (Kaough & Jones). With Don’s expert training, Russell accomplished his Instrument Rating (IFR) and his complex endorsement for retractable gear and variable pitch prop aircraft. Russell owned and flew his 1964 Cessna 210 for many years and found excuses to fly. He and Earline flew across the nation from Seattle to Boston. In the early 80s after one of his sons took up scuba diving, Russell worried about protecting his son, and he too became a PADI certified scuba diver. This led to his remaining sons becoming PADI certified, a new boat, scuba gear, and many years of deep-sea fishing and scuba diving trips nearly every weekend in the summers during the 80s. Russell was a great father and grandfather and will be missed by all who knew him.   

Russell was preceded in death by his parents, Azelie “Lee” and Kenneth Stratton; and his grandson, Ben Stratton.

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Those left to cherish his memory are his wife of 64 years, Earline (Soileau) Stratton; his five sons, Russell (Stephanie) Stratton, Scott Stratton, Steve (Debbie) Stratton, Kirk (Vicky) Stratton and Mike Stratton; and nine grandchildren, Erik (Amy), Jamie, Nicholas, Christopher,  Nathan, Collen, Allison (Lukas Teese), Sam, Charlie Stratton; and six great-grandchildren: Savannah, Hudson, Romeo, Braelyn, Nikolai, and Shaw.

The visitation will take place at Johnson Funeral Home from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.  The Rosary will begin at 6 p.m.

Visitation will resume on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial, led by Father Josh Paige, will begin at 10 a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church.  Russell will be laid to rest at Highland Memorial Gardens Cemetery, in the family plot near his parents and grandparents, immediately after the church services.

Although we will miss Russell’s presence, wit, and kindness. We are at peace knowing he is at peace in his new home, reunited with his heavenly Father, family, and friends that have gone before him. We can only imagine the joy.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis