In Memory

Russell Ekeblad

Russell Ekeblad

Published in The Providence Journal from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2018
Russell Alfred Ekeblad, aged 72, of Portsmouth, RI and Jupiter, FL passed away December 12, 2018.
Russ was one of the leading U.S. bridge players for the last 40 years, with five major National American Bridge Championship wins and six second place finishes. Several times he represented the United States in world play, earning first, second and third place finishes.
Born in Evanston, IL on August 17, 1946 to the late Dorothy (Sebbens) Ekeblad and Frederick Alfred Ekeblad, Russ' competitive nature and ability to excel was evident early on, whether striving to be first chair of the trombone section, throwing strikes as a southpaw Little Leaguer or achieving high marks academically. He attended Brown University (1968) and it was during his senior year that his brother, Steven, himself a Life Master, introduced Russ to the game of bridge at Starr's Bridge Club. Following graduation, Russ was pursuing a master's degree at Columbia University when his country called him to active duty. Having developed a love of the ocean from his childhood days summering on Cape Cod, he applied and was selected to enter the Coast Guard Officer Candidate School, graduating in the top tier of his class and serving almost 4 years.
Following his military service, he met and fell in love with Sheila (Bernstein) Ekeblad, fittingly, at a bridge tournament in New York. Russ and Sheila settled in Providence, RI, and, over the next 37 years, raised three children, founded and operated Kenilworth Creations Inc. and earned the rank of Grand Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League. As active members of their community, they enjoyed golf, boating, and travel.
Russ served on the Board of Overseers of The Moses Brown School in Providence, RI, and was an avid supporter of Brown University and Easter Seals. He was a member of The Metacomet Country Club in RI and Old Marsh Golf Club in FL.
During his retirement, Russ continued to enjoy bridge, boating, and the company of a dynamic and devoted group of friends and family, particularly his beloved grandson, Zachary, and granddaughter, Ryan. He will forever be remembered for his warm and infectious grin, his irreverent sense of humor, and the sense of excitement and contagious enthusiasm he brought
to bridge, life, and love.
Russell is survived by his children, Eric Soloff (Alexis) of Providence, RI, Rachel Soloff (Patrick Lavelle) of Lincoln, RI, Elizabeth Ekeblad, New York, NY, two grandchildren, his sister, Louise Wilcox of Niantic, CT and his niece, Kate Wilcox Bartlett (Bill) of Lyme, CT. He is predeceased by his brother, Steven Frederick Ekeblad, and his niece, Susan Louise Wilcox.
A celebration in his memory will be held on Saturday, January 5th, 1 pm-4 pm at The "15 Point Rd Restaurant" in Portsmouth, RI. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution, in his name, to:
New England Youth Bridge, Inc.
c/o Barbara Doyle
280 Boylston St., Apt. 503
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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02/07/19 10:56 AM #1    

Robert Lindner

Seems odd that I don't remember Russel since I was on the bridge team at ETHS. But he was not into bridge yet. Well I hope he is still winning duplicate tournaments somewhere in a parallel universe.

02/07/19 11:50 AM #2    

Jack Hayes

I'm sorry to learn of Russ' passing on. I recall playing in first section trombone with Russ at Haven Junior High, but never beating him out for first chair. My other fond memory was playing hockey in his backyard during those nice warm Evanston winters.


RIP, Russell.

02/07/19 02:26 PM #3    

Vernon Neece

Sad to learn of Russell's death.  During my freshman & sophomore years at ETHS I played trombone in the Cadet Band with Russell, though I was never of the same caliber as he.  May you rest in peace, Russell.

02/08/19 02:45 PM #4    

Lincoln Krochmal

I regret not knowing Russ at ETHS.  He sounds like a very interesting and multitalented  classmate.

However, I join others in mourning Russ's passing  and the loss of another of our valued classmates. May Russ rest in peace and his memory remain with all his friends.   Condolences to his family.

02/08/19 04:24 PM #5    

Holly Romans (Green)

I take a daily bridge class on the internet given by Audrey Grant.  Several years ago I was on the website which that day had different Bridge Aces making comments about a particular hand and how to bid it.  One of those Aces was Russell Ekeblad.  How many people have that name? - and I did some sleuthing which said he was born in 1946 and had lived in Evanston.  I then knew it was the same fellow I had attended school with at Lincolnwood, Haven, and ETHS.  I had sat next to him most of my sixth grade year and so had the opportunity to know him pretty well.  I was able to find an email address, wrote to him, and we had a few correspondences about two years ago.  Last week I realized I had not seen his name come up on my Bridge website so I googled him, and sadly, eventually found this obituary which I forwarded through Judy Anderson to this website.  The fellow I knew was exceptionally bright, kind, and very private.  He had an enormously successful life and became a famous Bridge whiz.  When I mention his name to various Bridge teachers, they all knew him.  I felt honored to have known this outstanding individual who was so modest, that none of us ever knew his acclaim.  Rest In Peace, Russ!  I will miss seeing your name in that column and I will miss not having the chance to ever run into you again somewhere, someplace.  

02/09/19 01:10 PM #6    

Gregory Udell

I too remember Russ.  Among other things we were Chem lab partners.  I also played hockey in his backyard a couple of times.

In addition, I play competitive bridge.  I can also attest that he was indeed a super star bridge player.  Our paths crossed once in a national tournament in Kansas City about 15 years ago - but not across the bridge table.  Rather, in a bar after the bridge events were finished.  We had a brief but pleasant chat.  It was fun seeing him.  (I played in the "regular" events - Russ played in the "top" events!)

02/10/19 02:54 PM #7    

Jon Andersen

Very sorry to hear about Russ. We became good friends when my family moved to Lincoln Street in North Evanston my Junior Year at ETHS. I have memories of numerous Blackhawk and Cubs games that included not just Russ and I, but my older brother Jim and Russ's brother Steve. Immediately following our final classes, we skipped commencement and went to his family's  house in Harwichport, Cape Cod. I spent 2-3 weeks there but had to come back for a summer job at Northwestern. We kept in touch and both worked together as councelors at a Day Camp on Cape Cod after our Soph yr in college. Russ's famiiy moved to Connecticut that summer from Evanston and we somehow never reconnected. A very fun guy whether playing golf or discussing politics. The whole bridge thing came after I knew him as I found out from Greg Udell. Russ's accomplishments do not surprise me. He was one sharp guy.


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