Russ passed away in Bellingham, Washington from complications due to a fall on the ice, he was 79 years old. The eldest of two children, he was born on December 4, 1944, in Seattle, Washington to Russell Keith and Inez Valrid VanBuren.
He attended Bellingham High School and graduated in 1963. After graduation he enrolled in Western Washington University and joined the Navy Reserve, he was sent to Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. Returning home, he continued his bachelor’s degree at Western. He graduated in 1971 with a degree in History and Political Science. After graduation he was hired by Puget Power and married his first wife Karen Holm. While at Puget Power Russ worked as a meter reader, marketing and in 1978 was promoted to Public Affairs Representative in Bellevue, Washington. He held this position for several years before becoming the Manager of Washington State Government relations. Returning to Bellingham in 1982, he was promoted to local branch manager at Puget Power.
During his first marriage he had three children, Kris, Kevin and Katie. He divorced in 1991. Remarried in 1993 to his high school sweetheart Penny Cyr, class of 1962.
In 1984 he was elected as a member of Bellingham School Board; he was on the board until 1992. He also worked with The Bellingham Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Rotary. Russ served his local community in many ways both during his working career and after his retirement.
Russ enjoyed playing golf, raising chickens, supporting all Washington sports teams, and loved Hockey. To say that the Philadelphia Flyers was his favorite team would be putting it lightly.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Penny; daughter Jeralyn, sons Kristopher, Kevin (Kelli); daughter Katie, grandson David; and granddaughter Hanna.
A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, February 18, 2024, 12:00 pm at The American Legion, 1688 West Bakerview Rd, Bellingham WA 98226. All are welcome to attend.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that a contribution be made to the Veterans Fund at The Albert J. Hamilton Post #7 American Legion 1688 West Bakerview Rd, Bellingham WA 98226.