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Following in father's footsteps

CPA continued his dad's business and tradition of serving the community outside work.

January 05, 2011|By Jon Haber
(Raul Roa )

Don Russ became a certified public accountant and community volunteer because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his role model— his father.

Russ grew up in Glendale and earned his master's degree at UCLA in 1963. Immediately after graduation, he joined his father's business, Russ & Allcroft, A CPA firm, on Brand Boulevard in Glendale. He's worked there ever since.

"My dad was a CPA, and kids at that age looked at what their parents did," Russ said. "Although my dad passed away in 1987, there's a big satisfaction in knowing that I kept up his business, and now it's doing as well as ever. I love it here."

Outside work, Russ has given back to the community — just like Dad. Although he said he doesn't volunteer nearly as much as others in Glendale, Russ has been involved in several groups.

After he graduated from UCLA, Russ joined the Glendale JCs, a group of young businessmen that he said did more community service than any other organization at the time.

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"We were active," he said. "We did the Verdugo Parade, the carnival and more activities that most couldn't shake a stick at. My current clientele and friends stem from that group."

Russ has also been an active member of the Glendale Rotary Noon Club, serving as president for a term, and has cooked extravagant meals for the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" annual fundraising event benefiting Glendale Healthy Kids, a group dedicated to providing medical care for children without insurance.

"He's an amazingly generous man with his time and talents and professional expertise," said Mary Boger, Glendale volunteer and host of the "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" event. "Don comes in with [his wife] Debby and cooks this amazing meal. It's really blossomed into quite an event in itself."

Additionally, Russ has served on the Glendale Salvation Army Board and the Foundation of the Verdugos.

"Volunteering makes you feel like you're really part of the community," he said. "I have no particular direction. It's really a matter of what I happen to be into at the time. What you do is you become part of the community. It just feels natural."

Russ also has a few other father-like hobbies. He runs about six miles every day as a member of the Foothill Flashers, and, like his father, he has a woodworking shop in his garage, where he designs and builds many types of furniture, including tables, chairs and cabinets.

Russ said his father was a remarkable man and a great example for him as a child. Other volunteers in the community appreciate Russ' efforts and his father's guidance.

"After all these years, Don not only still wants to volunteer, he still has enthusiasm for it," Boger said. "It's a reflection of him being a product of Glendale and his father's son. He grew up with a tradition in the city of public service, and he's living proof that it's alive and well in Glendale."

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