HARLEM - Wallace G. “Bud” Russell, 91, died Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005, at Big Sky Care Center in Helena of natural causes.
A funeral service will be held today at 2 p.m. in the Harlem Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow in the Harlem Cemetery with military honors with a gathering of family and friends at the VFW Hall immediately following.
Wallace was born July 8, 1914, in Monan, Idaho, to Thomas Gregory and Sarah Alma (Toohey) Russell. He grew up on a farm south of Zurich, a place he always considered home. He attended school at Zurich through the eighth grade, then worked on the family farm until his father's death.
Prior to World War II, Bud, worked for the Sprinkle Ranch in the Bears Paw Mountains south of Chinook. He had a passion for horses, especially working teams. In November 1941, Bud entered the Army Infantry at McCord, Wash. Following basic training, he was transferred to the Army Air Corps, 444th Bombardment Squadron. Staff Sgt. Russell was shop foreman with the 320th Bob Group in England. He was deployed to France two days after D-Day. Wallace served active duty in France, Belgium and Germany as part of the French Rhineland Campaign.
Upon his discharge in December 1945, Bud returned to Chinook, where he met Bonnie J. Kappel. Bud and Bonnie were married in Sidney on April 20, 1947. They lived in Chinook for a short time before making Harlem their home to seven children.
Wallace farmed, worked at the Equity Co-op, and leased a Chevron Station. He was a charter and lifetime member of VFW Post No. 4744, serving as commander and service officer many times. He also managed the VFW Bar and Bowling Alley for several years.
After his retirement, Wallace and Bonnie returned to farming Little Ireland, where Bud enjoyed time with his family and friends. He was forever proud of his Irish heritage, his family and extended family, his friends and his service to this country. In 2003, he received an honorary high school diploma in recognition of that service. Bud will be remembered for his zest for life, his sense of humor, his pranks and jokes, his repertoire of memorized poetry, but most of all for his love of family and friends.
Wallace was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Alma Russell; and siblings, Joe, Lorie, Ray and Bea Russell, Edna “Sis” Alexander, Alta “Dolly” Peterson and Margie Ashton.
Survivors include his wife, Bonnie Russell of Harlem; daughters, Peggy (Alan) Azure of East Helena, Kathryn “Kay” (Jerry) Schmitt, Yolando “Yo-yo” (Kermit) Johnson, all of Harlem, Rogene Halver of Shelby, Shelly Russell of Gaston, Ore.; sons, Gregory Russell of Wolf Point and Gary Russell of Harlem; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews whom he called “his kids”; and many dear friends and comrades.
Memorials may be sent to Liberty Home at the VA Hospital, Fort Harrison.
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.