Cover photo for William Russell Laster, Jr.'s Obituary
William Russell Laster, Jr. Profile Photo
1926 William 2015

William Russell Laster, Jr.

October 20, 1926 — August 24, 2015

William Russell Laster, age 89, of Auburn, formerly of Birmingham, departed this life on Monday, August 24, 2015. He was a longtime sufferer of Parkinson's. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Clarke Laster; father, William Russell Laster, Sr., and mother, Annabelle Sparks Laster of Irondale. He is survived by his stepdaughter Miki Mahan Heaton of Knoxville, Tennessee, grandson William Michael Schneider of Anniston and his wife Julie Weems Schneider, Great Granddaughter, Caroline Elizabeth Schneider, and brother-in-law Ben P. Clark, Jr. of Georgetown, Texas. Russell was born in Irondale, Alabama, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944 at age 17. He served as a hospital Corpsman on Okinawa, until 1946. He graduated from Auburn University (API) in 1951 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree. He worked in Cancer Research for 41 years for Southern Research Institute (SRI), in Birmingham, Alabama. While with SRI, he was head of the Cancer Division and had over 100 publications or abstracts in major cancer journals which he later presented the to the International Cancer Congress in both London, England, and Florence, Italy. For over thirty years he was the SRI Principle Investigator for a contract with the National Cancer Institute. Over the years there he contributed to some of the major treatments for childhood leukemia among other cancers. Next to his wife Carol, fishing was his passion, and he spent many years on Lewis Smith Lake bass fishing and continued to do so until he was 87. Both he and his wife were longtime members of St Luke's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, AL, and Holy Trinity Episcopal in Auburn; they both sang in the choirs. Russell's loyalty to his Alma Mater, Auburn, endured throughout his life as evidenced by his and his wife Carol's broad support. He was inducted as a member of Auburn's donor recognition clubs, the 1856 Society, the Sanford Society and was a Diamond member of the Centennial Club for the College of Veterinary Medicine. A Burial Office with Eucharist to celebrate the life of Russell will be held at Holy Trinity on Monday, October 19 at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn for the enhancement of the educational facilities project. Rest in peaceyou were loved and will be missed!

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