Source: Sherman Publications

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Russell Greenlees long-time figure in Lake Orion’s law enforcement

by Dan Shriner

January 30, 2013

Russell Greenlees
Russell C. Greenlees Jr., a man thought by many to be a legend in the Lake Orion law enforcement community, passed away recently.

"There will always be only one Russ and there no one will ever be like him," said Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh.

When Greenlees passed away he was still working at age 68 as the midnight dispatcher for Lake Orion's police and fire dispatch service. It was a job he took, not because he needed the money, but because he loved his community, said Narsh.

"There was not another dispatcher in the country who was a graduate of Notre Dame, had a law degree, won a Bronze Star and had his credentials," the chief said.

Greenlees served on the Lake Orion Police Department for more than 30 years. Most of those years he was a police reservist and was not paid.

He had a law practice in Lake Orion for many years known as Greenlees and Bailey. During his years as a lawyer he also served as a local prosecutor for ordinance issues in Lake Orion. Even as an attorney, he was an unpaid reserve officer.

Narsh said what endeared Greenlees to so many in the community was his ever-present constant humor, wit and intelligence.

"He was always happy and in a good mood. Things didn't defeat Russ. He was extraordinarily intelligent and had an unparalleled sense of community."

After he retired and left his law practice, Greenlees came back to serve as a reserve officer. When the dispatcher position opened, he jumped at the chance to work full time.

"He always served as our legal advisor and would help when we needed something," Narsh said.

Greenlees served two tour of duty in Vietnam and won a Bronze Star. He was very proud of his military service, Narsh said.

When he passed away, Narsh said, it was the only way Russ could leave.

"The only way he would relinquish service to his community was in the manner in which he left us."

He is survived by his sister-in-law, Patricia Greenlees, his nieces and nephews, David and Lydia Greenlees; Brian and Marilyn Drake; Kevin and Tory Greenlees; Ryan and Meghan Gilliatt.    He was a member of the Lake Orion Police Association, the Lions Club, and a life-long member of the NRA.

Services were held on January 25 at  St. Joseph Catholic Church,. Internment  was at Eastlawn Cemetery.  To share reflections with the family please visit