T. Russell Rooney, 97, of West Columbia, died Friday, July 18, 2014, in Providence Hospital. He was born in Charleston, S.C. on November 17, 1916, the son of John D. and Helen Carey Rooney. He attended Charleston schools and graduated in 1937 from The Citadel with a degree in Civil Engineering. He came to Columbia and began a career in the insurance industry at The Insurance Bureau. In November 1941, he entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant stationed at Camp Davis, N.C. On Pearl Harbor Day, his unit received orders to go overseas. Ten thousand troops were packed on the Queen Mary Ocean Liner. They sailed around the world for 43 days, evading attack by German U Boats, to reach Australia. After additional training, they began the Island Battles in the Pacific, arriving as the first U.S. troops in Manila. They freed the emaciated civilian prisoners, including women and children, after five years of captivity in the Santa Thomas prison. A man of courage, integrity, and a true patriot, Russell finally returned to the states after VJ Day, having valiantly served his country at war for nearly four years. After returning to Columbia, he opened his Property and Casualty Insurance Co. In 1950, he was joined by B. Palmer McArthur to become Rooney and McArthur Insurance Company (now Keenan and Suggs). Russell was very active in the community, serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Trustee of the Columbia Museum of Art and on the Providence Hospital Advisory and Foundation Board. He was Chairman of the United Fund Campaign and led many other community organizations. Russell had many friends in all walks of life. He loved the game of golf and played twice a week until last October at age 96. At age 95, he shot an eagle on No. 17 at Forest Lake Club. He was an elegant Southern gentleman with a charming sense of humor that endeared him to everyone. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Norma and many devoted nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Jack; sisters, Helen and Sue Carey; and one nephew, Jack Rooney III. A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 25, 2014, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Devine Street. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family. Memorials may be made to St. Joseph’s School, 3700 Devine St., Columbia, SC 29205 or St. Joseph’s Capital Campaign Fund, 3512 Devine St., Columbia, SC 29205.

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