WILTON \u2014 Historian, former first selectman and longtime resident Bob Russell has died, leaving behind a legacy and impact on the town that will remain for years. Russell died on June 18. He was 86. \u201cI think the beauty of what Bob was able to do was that he was able to build relationships with so many people,\u201d said Interim Historical Society Director Nick Foster. \u201cAnd you do that by being somebody who can be relied upon.\u201d Foster said Russell was someone that he and many others relied upon, but he was also \u201csomebody that truly understood what Wilton meant\u201d to its many residents and respected its centuries of history. Russell\u2019s own history in Wilton started when he was an engineer with IBM. There, he met Carol and the two would choose Wilton as their new home. They lived in Meadow Ridge, a senior living center in Redding, at the time of his death after spending more than four decades in Wilton \u2014 the town where Foster said Russell built so many lasting connections. If some of Wilton\u2019s younger generation aren\u2019t too familiar with Russell, they may become well acquainted with his name when researching anything related to the town\u2019s history. Russell read countless documents and kept copious notes when researching and compiling the long, storied history of the town before publishing \u201cWilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places and Progress\u201d with the Wilton Historical Society. He deemed the book a \u201clabor of love\u201d in an essay published in the Bulletin in 2021. And if anyone is looking to do some research of their own, they\u2019ll likely look to acquire historical records and documents from the archive room at the Wilton Library, the very room which dons the name of Russell and his wife, Carol, who supervised the room for more than 30 years. In 2018, the couple was honored for its longtime support of the library. Russell didn\u2019t just record Wilton\u2019s lenghty history, he chose to become a part of it as well. He spent six years holding the title of first selectman from 1993 to 1999 after constantly being asked by town residents. He also served on numerous other town boards, including the Board of Finance. For years, he sat on the board of the historical society and, even recently, would volunteer to give walking tours of the grounds, give lectures or lead a program. \u201cBob was an ongoing gift to the town and to Wilton Historical \u2014 a generous sharer of his depth of knowledge of Wilton and our history,\u201d said Wilton\u2019s Ceci Maher, a candidate for the 26th Senatorial District. \u201cHe will be missed.\u201d Maher recanted a story of seeing the Russells just one month ago at the Wilton Historical's celebration of Bob Faesy. Wilton\u2019s Toni Boucher, former state senator and current candidate, said she has \u201cbeen lucky to call Bob and his wife Carol my friends\u201d and that all her love is with Carol during this extremely difficult time. \u201cAs we mourn this painful loss, we must also remember and honor all that Bob stood for,\u201d Boucher said. When Russell served as first selectman in Wilton, Boucher was serving on the Board of Selectman, noting that she \u201cwitnessed firsthand how hard Bob worked to make our town a great place\u201d and to support each and every resident. \u201cI will personally miss his guidance and counsel so much. He was always there whenever needed, sharing his wisdom and perspective. He was and will always be a local treasure, active in making our community a better place for the future, and preserving our history and past,\u201d Boucher said. \u201cBob is forever a piece of our town, and his life must be celebrated for all that he has done for Wilton.\u201d First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice addressed Russell\u2019s death at a recent Board of Selectman meeting. \u201cIt\u2019s a big loss for Wilton to lose Bob,\u201d Vanderslice said. While she acknowledged his six years as the first selectman, she noted that his impact and service spanned far wider than that. \u201cHe was active right up to the moment.\u201d Ashley Kineon, of the Friends of Ambler Farm, said she was just emailing Russell last week and was sad to hear of his death, before calling him the \u201cfather of Ambler Farm.\u201d Along with his widow Carol, Bob leaves his children James and Jennifer, as well as three grandchildren: Thomas, John and Ven.