Robert Lewis (Bob) Russell was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, on April 21, 1933, to Jasper and Mildred Stott Russell. His giant heart stopped beating on March 5, 2022.
He was raised with his brothers and sister in Dayton, and Ranchester, Wyoming, at the foot of his beloved Bighorn Mountains.
Bob was an outdoorsman, a skilled athlete, and a merciless competitor, whether it was a game of cards or football. He was possessed of a resonant baritone voice, which you’d know if you ever discussed politics or played cards with him.
His vocabulary of four-letter words was extensive and impressive. He assembled them in forms likely not previously used before, and coined other unique turns of phrase as well.
He was offered basketball scholarships to both Purdue, and Marquette University, but ultimately chose Chadron State in Nebraska, because he was a very small-town boy and it was closer to home.
He attended college at both Chadron State and the University of Wyoming. He was fiercely intelligent. He did everything at full throttle.
He served in the US Army during the Korean conflict, after he’d lost his older brother to the same war. His unit was due to ship out just days before the peace accord was signed. Hearing that the war was over set off a celebration that was the one and only time he ever got drunk.
After four years of university study, Bob took a job as a road surveyor for the Federal Government. He loved working in the outdoors. This job took him to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as Salt Lake City, Denver, Colorado, Moab, and Cedar City, Utah.
While working in Big Cottonwood Canyon, he was set up on a blind date with Barbara Thomas, from Provo. He was immediately smitten. She took a little convincing, but his persistence paid off. He sold his Indian Motorcycle and bought an engagement ring. They were married on November 1, 1962, in Santa Barbara, California.
They lived in Buffalo, Wyoming; Denver, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and Cedar City, Utah, then decided that if they were going to raise a family he’d need to pursue a career that didn’t require them to move every six months. He and Barbara went to Kanab, where they built the Frostop, which they successfully operated for thirty years.
They raised two daughters: Lynn and Gina.
He was passionate about politics, very patriotic, and believed that everyone was entitled to his opinion. He served two terms as a Kane County commissioner, as well as a term or two on the Kane County Planning Commission. He was instrumental in securing Utah Congressional District 73 for Kane, Garfield, and Wayne counties.
He was active in the Kanab Lion’s Club, where he served as president; and was also a Lion’s Club district governor. He was a member of American Legion Unit 69, and was commander for several years. He helped care for Barbara’s mother and her elderly aunt and uncle in their declining years.
He was absolutely rough around the edges, but animals and little children loved him.
Bob was a Christian, read from the Bible every day of his adult life, and believed in the power of prayer. Serving others was always what brought him the greatest satisfaction.
He was an excellent cook and demonstrated his affection with food. He was proud of both of his daughters, but it appears he must have liked Lynn better.
Barbara was the love of his life, but his grandkids were a close second. He enjoyed supporting them at their musical, athletic and dance events. The great-grands were a wonderful bonus.
Wherever he is now, we’re sure he’s come out “smellin’ like a bandit” and has ’em “scratchin’ their toenails.”
His beloved wife passed nine hours after he did. He is survived by his daughters Lynn (Barry) Nielsen, Cedar City, Utah; and Gina (Mark) Lloyd of Panaca, Nevada; as well as grandchildren Devin (Kristen) Lloyd; Derek (Jenna) Lloyd; Alec (Kia) Lloyd; Madelin (Wyatt) Peterson; and Allie Nielsen; great-grandchildren Amillia ,Olivia, Lily, and one on the way; his brother Jack; his sister Laine; many nieces and nephews; and two sisters-in-law.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Jasper Virgil (Jr.) Russell; Bill Russell; and Don Russell.
The family would like to thank Marlin and Delores Brown; Ron and Cindee Glover; Susan and Jerry Glover; Bill Blasdell; Rinda Alldredge; the Kanab 7th Ward; everyone at the Kanab Clinic, and Kane County Hospital; Zion’s Way Hospice; Pricilla, Sharon, and Ann; the Kanab City Police and other first responders; and so many others who have loved and served Bob and Barbara as they aged and experienced the challenges that come with getting old. Kanab is a wonderful community.
Per his wishes, he will be cremated and there will be no services. The family will gather at a date to be determined.
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