Russell was born on April 10, 1896 in Ohio County,
KY. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1918 with a
B.S. in Agriculture. He returned to the University of Kentucky
in 1924 where he completed a Master's degree in rural life
problems. From August 1, 1925 to July 1, 1927 he was instructor
of Vocational Agriculture at Liberty High School in Casey
County. From 1927 to 1931, he managed a general farm in
Jessamine County near Lexington. In 1931, Russell became a Field
Agent in Tobacco at the University of Kentucky, where he served until
his death on July 6, 1962. Known to many as "Mr.
Tobacco", Russell was named " Man of the Year" in
Kentucky agriculture shortly before his death.
(Photo courtesy of Curt Hunt, grandson)
Ira E. Massie was born Nov. 13, 1919, in
Stamping Ground in Scott County, KY. He attended the University of
Kentucky where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in general
agriculture. In January, 1953, following a six-month stint in
Mason County as a county agent, he was named Extension Tobacco
Specialist at UK. In 1958, he received a Master’s Degree in agronomy
from UK. In October, 1953, he began a mass media endeavor with a
tobacco report on WHAS and later on WAVE in Louisville and WSAZ in
Huntington, WV. On July 19, 1960, the first televised showing of
"Tobacco Talk" was presented to Lexington audiences.
Massie "inherited" the tag of "Mr. Tobacco" from
his predecessor in the UK Agronomy department: Russell Hunt. He
retired from the University of Kentucky in 1983. Massie died in
January, 1987, after an extended illness. He was inducted into the UK Hall of
Distinguished Alumni in 1995.