Russell Calhoun Hubenet

January 26, 1947November 15, 2022
Obituary of Russell Calhoun Hubenet
Russ was the third of three children born to Katherine Florence Calhoun Hubenet and Bernard Jacques Cornelius Hubenet. He was born January 26, 1947 on Long Island, New York. After WW2, his father took on engineering work at the Wheaton Glass company, where his own engineer father had gone to work after WW1. Penicillin was first produced in quantity during WW2, and the family moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1949, where his father supervised the construction of the first factory to make pharmaceutical glass in South America, and then managed the factory for many years. From an early age, Russ was kind and sensitive to the needs of others. His mother and the children returned to the US around 1956, and his parents divorced amicably around 1958. His parents maintained a mutually respectful relationship throughout their lives, and the children spent some of their summers in Brazil. Russ graduated from Lake Worth (Florida) High School in 1964, and from Princeton University in 1969, with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He married Karen Andersen shortly after graduation and they had an exceptionally happy marriage in which they were also best friends. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam war, doing the most satisfying engineering work of his career. The Air Force also taught him a lot about housecleaning, but he didn’t want that too widely known. He was a pilot of small planes and both unflappable and safety-conscious. After a brief post-Air Force stint working for Boeing in Seattle, he moved back to Brazil to work with, and then replace, his father at Wheaton Glass. He and Karen made friends, kept parrots, and adopted stray cats. They were unable to have children but had much loving energy to share. Russ became well known for his ability to cook big paellas and conduct large scale barbecuing in the Brazilian style. After leaving Brazil, Russ continued to work in what is now called the container industry, spending several years in in Lisbon, Portugal. He and Karen then moved to Douglasville ,GA. Karen gardened and Russ often travelled for business. Russ was ever the handyman, and Karen had to keep him in projects for the sake of his happiness. In Georgia, Tim and Debbie O’Donnell were their best friends. Karen died very suddenly early in 2017, and Russ had difficulty recovering from losing her. One bright spot was his deepening relationship with his Seattle based sister Kathy. They took biking trips to Holland, Chile, New Zealand and Savannah, a fabulous trip to Portugal with friends, and also had snorkeling adventures. After Tim and Debbie moved to Florence AL, they persuaded Russ to join them. He bought a house two doors down from theirs, and Tim, Debbie, and the family of their daughter Leah Hyde essentially adopted him. They appreciated his stories of an adventurous life. He loved the culture and the bike trails of Florence and was glad he made the move. He’d only been in Florence two months when the COVID pandemic began, and the isolation was harder for him than for most people. Within the last year, he gave up biking and began going to the local YMCA six days a week to walk and take a variety of senior fitness classes. Those close to him felt he was declining and were concerned. On November fifth he fell in his bedroom and broke his neck, with extensive paralysis. The paralysis was severe enough to interfere with breathing. He died at home on hospice in the company of his family and cats on November 14th, 2022. He is survived by a sister, Kathy Hubenet of Seattle, a half sister Jackie Hubenet of Madrid, Spain, a half brother Benny Hubenet of Sao Paulo, five grand nieces, one grand nephew and the O’Donnell family. His essential sweetness will be remembered fondly by all who knew him for any length of time.

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