Russell Haskins, a real estate broker, died at home on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, from complications of cancer. He was 59.
He was born on Jan. 26, 1960, in Philadelphia. Beginning in 1969, he lived in West Mt. Airy with his stepfather, Harold Haskins, and mother, Yvonne Haskins.
He and his brother, Randy, being only 14 months apart, grew up like twins, well known around Mt. Airy and Tioga.
He graduated with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and earned his master’s in business administration in 1992 from Harvard University.
Upon graduation from Harvard, Haskins was chosen by Reginald Brack, CEO of Time-Warner, to serve as his intern for a year. He worked from 1993 to 2006 in corporate America, starting in strategic planning at American Express in New York City and then in advanced technology business development in the cable, satellite, motion picture and payment systems industries in California.
Haskins successfully launched services and products at DIRECTV, Sony Pictures Entertainment and OpenTV. He led DIRECTV’s implementation of its first interactive service. He directed a marketing initiative that added more than 200,000 new subscribers. As director of business development for Sony, he led the team that launched and managed interactive “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!”
Haskins was later appointed vice president of business development for Static, a London-based game developer where he was responsible for gaining distribution in North America on cable and satellite. His work resulted in more than $75 million annually with several top operators.
Following his corporate career, Haskins was a professor of marketing and head of business development for two years at a university in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, teaching economics and marketing while developing a model for market research in the Emirates.
After returning to the U.S., he formed his own company, RGInternational, engaging in ventures internationally in mining and major capital projects. In 2011, he obtained a California real estate license and began doing real estate and mortgage financing deals.
He loved jazz music, having been introduced to the genre through his biological father, the late Walter Booker Jr., a jazz bassist, and his stepmother, Bertha Hope, a well-known jazz pianist in New York City.
During a brief period between graduation from Wharton and starting at Harvard, Haskins managed Andy Bey, a jazz singer and pianist, and assisted him in getting to perform in Philadelphia.
Haskins loved to travel and meet people. He traveled throughout the Middle East and East Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, India) and visited South Africa. He spent several months in Brazil, visited Mexico, and traveled three times to Cuba, where he met Raul Castro.
Haskins ran three marathons in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and even after becoming ill he continued to hike and bike in the Wissahickon and around Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.
Haskins loved his family and expressed pride in his parents’ and sister’s achievements. He loved sports (especially the Philadelphia Eagles), music, politics, community issues and collecting art and had good taste in fashion. He played chess regularly with his friend, Eric Hartsfield, and taught his mother how to play. He was an avid reader.
He loved kids and dogs, bringing the first dog to his family to raise when he was only 12. He tutored children and young people while in college and when he resided in California.
In addition to his mother, stepfather and stepmother; he is survived by: his sister, Kristin Haskins Simms; uncle, Joseph Blakeney Jr.; aunt, Marjorie Booker; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Feb. 8 at Salem Baptist Church, 2741 Woodland Ave., Abington. Viewing is at 8 a.m. Services will follow at 10 a.m.
Beckett-Brown and Hodges Funeral Home handled the arrangements.