Robert Russell

Obituary of Robert Russell

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Robert C. Russell (Bob) passed away unexpectedly Saturday, February 17th, 2024, at the age of 77, surrounded by his family. Bob was born to Earl and Irma Russell on September 26, 1946, in Harrison, Arkansas. While primarily growing up in Wichita Kansas, he (and his brother Phil), also spent many summers working on a close relatives’ family farm in Arkansas. He recalled working very hard, getting up well before sunrise, feeding animals, chopping wood and building and painting miles of fence. It wasn’t all work, as they also had adventures causing mischief and spent time at the swimming hole with the local kids. After graduating high school in 1964, he joined the Air Force in early 1965, just missing being drafted into the Army. Bob completed his basic training, then technical training in Mississippi on the maintenance and repair of various communications equipment, including high powered radar. Upon graduation, the graduates were given two choices of their preferred duty stations. He would say, “of course you picked your home state, but I was friends with a few guys from Washington, so I put that down, and as luck would have it, that’s where I ended up.” In a Veterans Day article published by the Othello Independent, November 5th, 2008, he was quoted as saying "It (Othello) was a desolate, god-forsaken place then, but a good place for a young man to be. I turned 20 here and I am happy with my choice. It changed my life for the better, and I met my wife.” While stationed at “Radar Hill” Air Force radar station in Othello WA, home of the 637th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (AC&W Sq), he met and later married Deborah Grow in the Summer of 1969. Soon after, they were stationed in Germany, on the border near Czechoslovakia where they lived off base, enjoyed many biergarten festivals and welcomed Tiffany to the family in December 1970. Following his two Air Force enlistments, and honorable discharge in 1972, they returned to Othello where he began work on the Milwaukie Railroad. In early November 1973, the couple welcome their son Rob to the family. Bob would later work for the Burlington Northern Railroad, and finally the Washington Central Railroad before switching careers. In 1990, Bob retired from the railroad and began working at the local building supply, where he gained many professional and personal friendships and watched as the community expanded, often saying, “I sold all the materials for that entire neighborhood” as he talked of the changes around town. He was a current member of the Adams County Planning Commission, serving many years, and enjoyed being involved in the community’s development. In 2013, he retired and devoted his time to numerous hobbies including woodworking, Corvettes and car shows, music, Bingers coffee club, and as he would say, “living the dream”. He loved scroll sawing intricate ornaments, name signs, firefighter plaques, puzzles and creating beautiful wood cutting boards among other projects. Bob and Deb were active members of numerous Corvette clubs over the years and would regularly attend meetings from the Tri-Cities to Wenatchee and most recently Spokane, many times attending events several times a month. Together they took several cross-country caravan trips to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Corvette headquarters, and attended countless car show events each year throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Montana and Canada, making many friends. He proudly volunteered his time whenever possible for veteran’s groups on projects such as Christmas bike giveaways, senior utility payment programs, as well as simply driving friends and acquaintances to doctor’s appointments to Spokane and the Tri-Cities, as often as they needed help. Bob loved the outdoors, occasionally hunting, however, more often these were family outings. Most weekends were spent boating at O’Sullivan, weekend long trips riding three-wheelers at the Moses Lake sand dunes with brief ER side trips to fix the various incidental mishaps, or winter camping and snowmobiling in the Cascades, filled with family, music and campfires. He was the definition of the weekend warrior and would get up Monday morning and do it all again the next weekend. Bob loved watching Gonzaga basketball (college basketball in general), and would watch countless games each season, but he always rooted for his Kansas teams. He was a fiercely local husband, involved parent and grandparent and was wildly proud of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. You will be truly missed by your family and community. He is proceeded in death by his father Earl, mother Irma (2005), and brother Phil (2019). He is survived by his wife Deb (54 years of marriage), siblings Stan Russell, Rose Casey, Beth Cox, and Greg Russell, daughter Tiffany (Gary) Lebacken, son Rob (Tara) Russell, grandchildren Mandy (Robert) Langstaff,Derek (Kassilin)Lebacken, Gary Michael (Hannah)Lebacken, Jenna Russell (Kolby Snyder), Jacob (Emily Torpey)Russell and five great-grandchildren Riah, Liam, Paislee, Easton and Karson. A private family service will be held, and a Celebration of Life is being planned for June.
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Robert Russell

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Robert Russell

1946 - 2024

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