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Russell Samuel Doughten, Jr.

Posted August 21, 2013 in Obituaries, Norwalk, Winterset

February 2, 1927- August 19, 2013

Russ Doughten

Russ Doughten

Russ passed to be with the Lord on August 19, 2013 at his home.

Russell of Carlisle, Iowa was born on a stormy February 2nd night in 1927 while his father, Russell Samuel Doughten Sr., drove his mother, Dorothy Woods Doughten, from Woolstock, IA. to the hospital in Iowa Falls. He was the third of eight children having 6 sisters and one younger brother.

He graduated from Chester, IA. High School in 1945, and served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946 (17 months). He attended Drake University majoring in Drama, graduating in 1949. He taught English at Williamsburg High School until 1951 and went on to get his master’s at the Yale Drama School in 1954, majoring in directing. Additional education included classes at Faith Baptist Bible College and film making classes from Southern California University.

He met his wife Gertrude Sprague at Drake University where they both worked in the girl’s dormitory dining hall and they were married on July 2, 1950.

In 1954 Russ went to work at Good News Productions, a Christian film company, in Chester Springs, PA. While there his 3 sons were born and he produced and directed many TV shows and movies, including The Children’s Gospel Hour and some for evangelist Henry Geiger. His work continued there until 1958 and included him being the producer for Steve McQueen’s first film “The Blob”. In 1958 he moved his family to Monterey Park, Ca. where he taught English and Drama at South Pasadena High School until 1964.

With a desire to produce feature length dramatic films, he went to Iowa in 1964 and raised money to create a new film production company called Heartland Productions. This new company produced “The Hostage” and “Fever Heat” and went on to manage a number of theaters in Iowa. In 1972, Russ formed a new company Mark IV Pictures with Donald Thompson that wrote and produced the end times evangelistic Christian film “A Thief in the Night”, premiering in March of 1973. “A Thief in the Night” is the most widely seen Gospel film in the world and has brought millions to know Jesus Christ as their savior. Russell through Heartland Productions and Mark IV Pictures went on to be involved with writing, producing, and directing 18 more evangelistic Christian films including 3 more in the prophecy series begun by “A Thief in the Night”, “A Distant Thunder”, “Image of the Beast” and “The Prodical Planet”.

Russ founded a non-profit company, Mustard Seed International, to create translations of the Christian films so that they could be used by missionaries around the world. This company also produced a “Share Your Faith” seminar to help train Christians to share their faith. This seminar was presented live in the U.S. and other countries including Ireland and India and is also available on video.
Russ helped form the Christian Film Distributors Association and was instrumental in the formation of the Christian Film Producers Association. He participated in the National Religious Broadcasters Association for many decades and created and presented an annual award for Outstanding Evangelistic Film Maker. For more than 20 years he was on the board of the Iowa Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.
Russell is survived by his wife Gertrude, 3 of his 4 sons, 4 of his 5 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. His sons are (Mark the first born died in infancy) Paul Doughten D. O. (wife Darlene) is a Lt Cornel in the Air Force and resides in West Melbourne, FL., Joel Doughten M.D. (wife Ching) resides in Riverside, CA., Tim Doughten (wife Karen, deceased) resides in Spring, TX. He was preceded in death by his sister Charlotte Jacobs and is survived by 6 siblings, Peggy Rachford in West Covina, CA., Carol Schell in Merced, CA., Marjorie Sneets in West Des Moines, IA., Elaine Wolfe in Spring Valley, MN., Gretchen Craft in Asheville NC., and John Doughten in Garden Grove, CA.

Mary and Merle Klein of Osceola, IA (Gertrude’s sister and brother in law) have been “Angels of Mercy” during Russ’ long and difficult medical problems. Thom Rachford, Russ’ nephew from Temple City, CA., deserves a very special thank you for maintaining Russ’ offices during his protracted illness. Iowa Hospice by Harden Healthcare enabled Russ to be at home for his final days, and for this we are extremely thankful. Services will be at Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 24, with burial to follow in the McFarlan Cemetery in What Cheer, Iowa. A Visitation and a light lunch will be held prior to service time from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Online condolences can be made at

Information provided by:
Peterson Funeral Home
415 School Street
Carlisle, IA 50047

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