Russell M. Fuller was born in 1924 and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He married Barbara Stauffer in 1948 and they both attended the Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago. After moving to Ann Arbor, they became active in the Civil Rights and anti-war movements and in 1965 they helped found the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. Russ was chairman of the Human Relations Commission in the late 1960s. He also served as pastor of Memorial Christian Church for 40 years, retiring in 1995.