Russell Rainville, 70

4 mins read
Russell Rainville
Russell Rainville

PORTLAND – Russell Rainville, 70, of Industry died of a sudden illness on Wed., May 21, 2014 at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Russell was born in Manchester, N.H. the son of William and Helen Rainville. He received his Masters in Mathematics at UNH and earned his PhD in Mathematics in 1971, also from UNH. Russell was a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Maine Farmington from 1977 to present. He was Chair of the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science for 10 years.

Russell is survived by his wife Gail Lange, brothers Bill and Paul, brother-in-law Louis Lange, sister-in-law Brenda Lange-Gustafson, nephews Brandon and Matthew, and many cousins.

He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Roy.

Russell was a loving husband to Gail. They worked together in many ways including teaching and researching in the Mathematical and Computer Science fields, biking and ocean kayaking, and traveling to places such as England, France, and Italy.

Russell had a fantastic sense of humor, which faculty and students alike enjoyed. Russell spent hours working with students in his office if needed to explain a concept. He was very diligent in his preparation of projects and other assignments for his students. He had a gift for teaching the Problem Solving course in which each student would pick a unique problem, either suggested by Russell or by them. He had a wonderful way of giving them help and yet allowing the student to solve their problem.

He was exceptionally intelligent and this shone through in all his Mathematical conversations with faculty and students. He encouraged creative work and research by running the Division’s Mathematics Hour which sponsored faculty and student talks. He was also dedicated to improving the core section of the University’s requirements, offering detailed and applicable solutions.

Russell was a fine artist, specializing in Mathematical sculpting. Some of his work is on campus, including that on the front lawn of Brinkman House. He was the curator for the 150th anniversary celebration in Mathematical Art and the artwork was exhibited in the Emery Arts Center. Russell had a great joy of life in everything he did. He was extremely curious and was a problem solver. Russell was a member of the following societies; Mathematical Association of America, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. he was a member of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and always carried a copy of the US Constitution with him.

Visiting hours will be held at Adams-McFarlane Funeral & Cremation Services, 108 Court St., Farmington on Tuesday, May 27 from 2-4 p.m. and also from 6-8pm with a period of remembrance from 7-8 p.m. There will be a private burial on Wednesday. A public memorial service will held in September, date to be determined. In lieu of flowers the family requests that a donation be made in the name of Russell Rainville to the University of Maine at Farmington to support a scholarship or other financial aid for students, 242 Main St., Farmington. Condolences may be sent for the family at

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  1. Russell was a truly amazing person — the smartest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He taught me so much over the years. He a had true passion for math and for teaching. He will be greatly missed by every one who ever met him.

  2. So sorry for your loss. Such a friendly person and great neighbor. If you need any thing , just call. We are here for you Gail. Your neighbors John and Brenda..

  3. Russell was a wonderful and bright and witty person. He always made you think about any position you took. Russell possessed a kind and gentle presence. We will all deeply miss Russell.

  4. Russell was very kind and very intelligent person. He would always treat people kindly and test their humor. He and I were some of the first to arrive at work on campus and we both have locked ourselves out of our buildings, but we could rely on each other to get the other one into their office! “Russell, what will I do now, without your there to help me?” Thanks for being there! You will be missed greatly!

  5. Great professor. I had him for stats 20 years ago. Im sorry for his wifes loss. I always saw them together around town.

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