CHESTER - Russel John Wicks, 54, died Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006, at his home.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Chester. Cremation will follow.
Russ was born Jan. 13, 1952, at Havre to Walter and Pearl (Jabes) Wicks. Russ grew up in the Chester community and received his education here, graduating from Chester High School in 1970. He continued his schooling at Helena Vo-Tech and Northern Montana College in Havre, then began farming with his folks near Chester.
Russ married Stacy Nelson in 1972. They had a daughter, Celeste, before their marriage ended in divorce.
In 1976, Russ began farming at Eastend, Saskatchewan, and was granted status as a landed immigrant in Canada.
Russ' second marriage was to Maureen “Morb” Callahan of Havre on Dec. 29, 1979. They farmed in Canada until 1984, then moved back to the Chester community, where they began farming the Sherrard place near Lake Elwell. In 1999, they made another short move to the Violet Broadhurst farm, where they lived and worked since.
Russ was a life member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Chester, where he had been baptized and confirmed. He was also a member of the Montana Grain Growers, the Tiber Dam Water Ski Club, and Harley Owners Group. In recent years, he enjoyed volunteering at local schools. He assisted with the “Explore America” program at C-J-I School. He provided a teepee for Native American Days, cooked buffalo burgers, and served as Santa Claus at the Riverview Colony School.
Russ enjoyed his boats, snowmobiles, four-wheelers, and his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This past spring Russ, Morb and friends took a 4,400-mile motorcycle trek to the Alaskan Yukon. In the summer, Russ and friend Bill traveled by motorcycles to Arizona to visit Celeste. Then later, Russ and son John ventured to the motorcycle rally at Sturgis, S.D. He also enjoyed big-game hunting and fishing. He and several friends had been ice-fishing at Lake Elwell the day before he died.
His hobbies included playing cards, especially poker, cribbage, and a game he called elk camp rummy, dice and the board game Risk. At home Russ enjoyed movies, playing pingpong and pool, and rock 'n' roll music. He had a large collection of vinyl albums. He also loved cooking and was very mechanical. Russ and Morb enjoyed traveling and made several memorable trips to Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and New Orleans.
This was one of Russ' favorite times of the year, as he loved March Madness and the Final Four. He kept a file on the yearly brackets and plotted how each new basketball season would develop, then sat back and enjoyed the games.
Russ loved his life as a farmer. After many years of drought, he finally enjoyed a decent crop this past year. He also enjoyed his friends and neighbors, and was always there to lend a helping hand whenever he could. Most of all, he loved his family.
Russ could best be described as a gentle giant with a soft heart and a good sense of humor who enjoyed life to its fullest.
Survivors include his wife of 26 years, Maureen of Chester; children, Celeste of Phoenix, Kali of Spokane, Wash., and John of Bozeman; parents, Walt and Pearl of Chester; siblings, Karen (John) Haughey of Billings, Dale (Teresa) Wicks of Billings and David Wicks of Chester; and eight nieces and nephews.
Memorials will be given to the C-J-I Public School Foundation, the Hi-Line Health Foundation, the Hi-Line Sportsman's Club or Our Savior's Lutheran Church, all of Chester.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.