Russell "Rusty" J. Page

September 24, 2021

CHARLOTTE – Russell “Rusty” J. Page of Charlotte, NC passed away Friday morning in his home from complications related to chronic heart disease at the age of 79. As those who knew him will attest, his heart may have failed his body, but never failed to enrich the lives of those around him.

Rusty was born on December 3, 1942 in Charlotte, NC to the late Robert C. and Sara (Mullis) Page, Jr.  He graduated from Myers Park High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He served in both the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard for over eight years. Rusty’s career spanned a combination of varied professions, including broadcasting, marketing/advertising, and investor relations to several well-known financial institutions. He started his broadcasting career during his junior year of high school, hosting a nighttime radio from 8 pm until midnight on WGIV and later became the morning drive-time personality there. Rusty would refer to this period as “the golden days of radio, when you play and say what you wanted.” By extension of his budding radio career, he also emceed many regional concerts featuring both national & local recording artists.  His passion for the music of the Carolina “Beach Music” movement was a source of pride for all his future years, and in 2011 he was inducted into the Beach Music Radio Hall of Fame. After his military service Rusty returned to Charlotte as Sports Director for a local television channel, where he also served a short stint as play-by-play announcer for a local college basketball team.  His broadcast days culminated with a hosting and production job on “The Village Square,” an hour-long nationally syndicated television show featuring some of the top recording artists of the day.  Down the road, many generations of Charlotteans would enjoy listening to his cassette recordings, “Rusty’s Best to You,” in which he shared his knack for hosting and his infamous humor with the masses. In 1968 Rusty founded Russell Page & Associates, a marketing and advertising firm.  This soon led to his appointment within PCA International to handle their advertising & communications, which culminated in that company going public in 1976.  Within a few years, Rusty joined North Carolina National Bank (NCNB) as Senior VP of Communications and remained there through their well-documented merger with Nations Bank in 1997.  After a brief time employed by the NASDAQ Stock Exchange in New York, and consulting engagements with various other Wall Street specialists, Rusty returned his attention back home, relocating to the North Carolina mountains & focusing on his consulting company.  In 2011 he returned to his native home of Charlotte and took his final position with Paragon Bank, now TowneBank as Senior VP of Business Development, where his colleagues provided a supportive environment that kept him busy and provided an outlet for his unparalleled ability to entertain and charm through his last days.  Anyone who knew Rusty is familiar with his love of history, both American and British.  His life-long admiration of Sir Winston Churchill grew to new heights upon meeting the former Prime Minister’s grandchildren, and his subsequent involvement with the Churchill Center in Washington, D.C.  With the family’s blessings, Rusty wrote and then performed a two act, one man play simply titled “Winston.”  He relished the opportunity to perform his creation on numerous occasions and multiple locations around North Carolina. Rusty was no stranger to the spotlight, having previously entertained many through countless work and civic functions.  Another highlight was his invitation to serve as guest conductor of the Charlotte Symphony on several occasions, where his love of classical music and his self-taught ability to read musical charts was on display.  In addition to philanthropic guest conducting stints, Rusty also contributed to many civic organizations throughout the years, and took great pride in helping Charlotte become the world-class city it is today.

Rusty is survived by his son, Anderson Page and his wife, Laura of Mill Valley, CA and his daughter, Julie Smith and her husband, Josh of Charlotte; his grandchildren, Brittany and Travis Maki and Jackson, Kingston and Ryder Page and Ada Lee and Frances Smith.  He is also survived by his brother, Robert Page and his wife, Joan; his sister, Marisa Page and sister-in-law, Pam Page, and many beloved nephews, nieces and cousins.  Rusty was preceded in death by his daughter, Chase Maki, son, Christopher Page, and brother, Richard Page.  He also wished to acknowledge his friendships that meant so much to him; “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, And say my glory was I had such friends.” (WB Yeats)

A private family memorial service will be celebrated 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 2, 2021 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.  The family requests friends join them for the service via livestream at:  www.covenantpresby.org/live

Memorials may be offered in memory of Rusty to The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter, Attn: Bluff Mountain, 334 Blackwell Street, Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 or The Joe Martin ALS Foundation, 100 N Tryon Street, Suite 3420, Charlotte, NC 28202.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

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Comments

  • Beth Furlough

    I was Rusty’s assistant at PCA for several years. He never failed to make me laugh. He was truly a great guy. He will be missed.

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  • Michael M Woody

    Rusty was a wonderful friend and partner at NCNB, Nations Bank. His "hallmark" was to always make you feel you were the most interesting and important person he would see that day. He seemed always about others, not himself. A loss to family, friends, bankers and our community!

  • bob blalock

    As a member of the Charlotte Symphony for 40 years, I remember when Rusty conducted us and how much fun we had working with him. His humor and love of people came thru and we all wished he could come back and do another show with us..He obviously touched a lot of peoples lives and I am glad of my brief time with him.

  • Ede Graves

    What a life Rusty had! I was among the thousands of Charlotteans he entertained in small groups or on big stages. I have never laughed so hard as I did when on the NCAA Final Four Organizing Committee Advance trip to New Orleans. Who knew anyone could be kicked out of a restaurant in the Big Easy?! Rusty’s Godfather impersonation with wine corks in his jowls was priceless! His humor was only eclipsed by his huge heart. He loved Charlotte and all it’s people. We were lucky to have known him.

  • Ann Williams

    RIP my friend!

  • Ann Williams

    We will miss you but, know you’re in a good place! Everyone here is sad and think about everyday we hear your songs!! Prayers for your family and all of us. To soon you have left us. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Ann Williams

    Everyone will miss him and think of him not being with us! But know he’s in a good place but it leaves us all soo sad!! He was Wonderful!!! ??? for family.

  • Jim Copses

    Please accept my deepest and most heartfelt sympathy on the passing of Rusty….A huge part of my Park Place Pharmacy family…..he brought joy and humor with every trip……even when he felt not up to par…..I hold him in the highest regard…Rest in peace dear friend.

  • Brant Hart

    So sorry to hear of Rusty's death. I watched him on WCTU TV-36 when he was the sports anchor and hosted Top 36 Bandstand and The Village Square. He did a great job with all of those shows. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family.