- 78 years old
- Date of birth: Nov 16, 1937
- Place of birth:
Ponoka, Alberta, Canada
- Date of passing: Dec 11, 2015
- Place of passing:
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
|. . . love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. Kahlil Gibran|
This website was created in memory of Frank Russell, 78, born on November 16, 1937 and died on December 11, 2015. We will remember him forever.
"I just found this memorial after coming across Frank's obituary in the newspaper and I'm left with one feeling - heartbreak. I worked with Frank in the Western Star Mock-up from 1994 - 98. Meeting, working with and getting to know Frank was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. He was a tough old guy with a great sense of humour and a desire to get on with it (whatever it was that had to get done). Every day with Frank was filled with laughter and I loved every minute of it. What a great person and an inspiration he was. I always thought I'd get to see Frank again some time. Guess it will have to wait until I join him on the other side. Until then, I will always cherish having known Frank Russell and I'll appreciate all the good he brought into my life. He was a very special person indeed. My condolences to Pat & Kat. Now, I think I just need to go have a good cry."
"This was sent to me before and I was trying to think of how to get it to you Pat, here is a note from my parents. Lots of love, and thinking of you every day. Sarah
Sarah let us know the sad news that Frank died. It will be a comfort to you knowing he is no longer in pain and suffering. However, we all grieve his passing and know how much you and your daughter will miss him . We will too. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both.
Jack and Jenny"
"We were so very sorry to hear of Frank's passing. We will miss his wonderful positive energy. He was very special to our family and we are sad with you Pat and Kathy x"
"I never had the pleasure to meet Frank, but have known Kat for many years and have had the privilege of hearing so many wonderful things about him. It is to Kat and those that Frank has left behind that my condolences and thoughts and prayers go out too."
"More from Castanet: December 30, 2015 - January 15, 2016
Pat and Kat,
I am so sorry for your lose. I worked with Frank for 20 years at WST. He always had a big smile and a great sense of humor. Frank was always willing to help everyone out. He was loved and respected by all.
Jan 13, 2016
I'm so sorry to hear of Frank's passing and send my condolences to you and your daughter, Pat. He was a wonderful person and will be sadly missed by all who had the good fortune to meet him in this life.
Jan 01, 2016
Worked with Frank at Western Star. What a great person. Rest in peace Frank
Dec 30, 2015"
"Tiffany and I are sad to hear about your Father's passing. Our thoughts and hearts go out to you and your family during this time of remembrance. The memorial page is beautiful with great photos that capture your Dad's spirit, passion and personality. He seemed full of life and love which he clearly passed on to the people close to him. May he rest in peace."
"I didn't know him, but he seemed like a wonderful person, kind, active, loving and loved. This world lost another beautiful soul. Sending my love to his family, especially his wife and his daughter.
Kat, it looks like you had a wonderful role model, no wonder you became such a great person. I hope you will find peace with his passing."
"sorry to hear he passed. from the photos and the way you've talked of him he lived a long, happy and very loved life."
"Kat, your tribute to your Dad is totally beautiful and I can now understand how much you will miss him, and loved him. Memories is what we have when our loved ones pass on, and our heart has to bare with them but one thing for sure Kat at least we had that love in our lives. My thoughts and heart are with you."
"What a touching memorial page. I'm sorry for your loss, but it seems that Frank was very well loved and will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to you in this difficult time.
"I did not know Frank personally, but from the moment I met my dear friend Kat it was clear he was her whole world. My thoughts and prayers are with the Russell family. Rest peacefully and without pain, Mr. Frank Russell."
"I knew Frank ever since I was teenager and always knew I could rely on him; he and Pat became like family. He was such a wonderful, honest, funny, loving man. My husband Rick always got a kick out of them both being born in Ponoka, Alberta. You are remembered fondly Frank.
Monica Davidson (Birch)"
"Thinking about Frank Russell - for Pat and Kat
I don’t know when I first met Frank Russell. He was somewhat legendary even before I actually encountered him. It was maybe in the late ’80s when my daughters were in their teens or nearly, and they came home with awe-struck tales of an idyllic farm and lovely horses. I knew Frank was an engineer at Western Star and I was taken with that, because my dad had been an engineer with an auto maker. This type, those generations, were a special breed in my eyes.
I gathered that for years, Frank, like my dad, went into work in the earliest hours of the morning - to get a jump on the day. He told me, “You know, the better you do, the more they expect.” You’d think that would make a person plateau at an acceptable level, but not Frank. He would do better. “Why?” I asked. “Guess it was just the way I was raised”, he’d say. As though none of it had anything to do with him. But it was all about him, in the most unassuming way.
One the neatest times I spent in the company of Frank and Pat was the evening, not so long ago, when they got to talking about their early dreams. At the time they described, they were living and working in California, pouring over photos of the land here between the creeks along Hwy 33. Decades fell away in the telling. They were right back to young people, full of visions and prospects, describing the beauty and the potential of this place, what they could do here, how enticing it was! It is not an easy prospect, really, looking after a corner of paradise. But no one could have done better than they have.
Another thing I found endearing was the bond between father and daughter. Kathy, I believe, made anything and everything worthwhile for him. His pride and affection were boundless. He would sort of muse … she is so resourceful, smart, capable (a family resemblance?), musical, creative. Cherished.
I know Frank enjoyed the finer things in life: a good brew, the best food a man could eat - Pat’s: homegrown and homemade. He took great delight in children, my own among them, even after they morphed into adults. I remember him lifting excited, nervous kids into his Santa-bearing sleigh to get them to the Joe Riche Christmas party. He’d coach them on sitting safely and tuck them in - all with perfect attention and know-how. (It was a stallion he’d be driving, don’t ya know?)
Frank, Pat and I more recently attended concerts together – especially for Canada Day and charity galas. Every so often, it might seem he’d fallen asleep, but then he would comment on how remarkably the young violinist had played or how superbly the tenor had sung. He introduced me, in a manner of speaking, to Jesse Cook and Michael Kaeshammer. Frank could easily hold his own in book talk – on care for the earth, the corruptibility of people in power, the courage and mettle of pioneers. So many and varied topics, I marvel at the scope.
I miss him, the holiday dinners with him and Pat in the perfect niche they carved together, every casual tea-time and other occasion, but mostly I miss the tangible reassurance of such a very fine person among us."
"From Castanet, December 21, 2015:
• I worked with Frank as a foreman at Western Star for 25 years. He was truly dedicated to the job and he always had a funny story and a great laugh. He loved to kid. I know he loved to work on the property and loved his horses. I also know he loved your cookies, Pat. I know you will miss him. My condolences to you Pat, Kat, and the rest of the family.
• Please accept our condolences Pat. We appreciated Frank's sense of humour. It used to amuse me that he could never remember my name so he always called me Mrs. Torben.
Sincerest sympathies from your old neighbours,
Torben and Cairine Stade
• My sincere condolences on your loss. Frank was a strong man. I will think of him often as he and Pat created such a beautiful park like setting on their acreage.
Sending you strength during this time of sadness.
Regards, Elisabeth van der Werf
We are so sorry of Frank's passing. He was a lovely gentleman and will be missed.
Jeff and Heather Pinch"
"From Castanet, December 20, 2015:
• Dear Pat and family;
I send my love to you with great big hugs.
Fond memories of our "goat club" gatherings out at the Birch's, next door to you. You and Frank made such a great team, love and prayers, especially at this time of year. You will be in my thoughts.
• Saddened to hear of Frank's passing. I had the pleasure of working with Frank for 10 years at Western Star. He was one of those larger-than-life (especially his hands!) characters that we all cross paths with in life that leave a lasting impression. He always had something funny to say and was universally admired and respected. Frank will be missed by many.
My condolences to the Russell family.
Rob Wannop (WST '92-'02)
• I am so sorry to hear of Frank's passing. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Thinking of you at this time!
• My sincere condolences to the Russell family. It was a pleasure to work with Frank and I always enjoyed his sense of humour.
Nora Perehudoff, former WST employee,
• Pat and family, we are so sorry to hear of Frank's passing. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
Nick and Sue van Hees and families.
• I am profoundly sad for you and your family, Pat. Doug and I cherish the pleasant hours we have spent in your and Frank's company.
Anne and Doug"
"From Castanet, December 19, 2015:
• Frank was my cousin through marriage. He was a colorful character, and a great story teller,for this I will always have great memories of him. Pat you have a huge void in your life as Frank was truly your right hand man.
• My condolences to the Russell family in their time of loss, Frank always made me smile at WST.
• Sheila Walroth sending condolences to Pat and her family. You and Frank were a constant in Joe Rich. He will be sadly missed.
Dec 19, 2015"
"From Castanet, December 18, 2015:
• Frank and I surveyed for Alberta Highway's several years and we went to California at the same time. Although we haven't seen each other recently I will fondly remember our time together and I hope to be notified when and where Frank's Memorial will be held.
• So sorry to hear of Frank's passing, Pat. You both made such a great couple. What a beautiful ranch you built together. Please let us know when the memorial service will be next spring. We hope you can be near many friends and family this Christmas.
Love you, Dr. Bob and Nancy Wageman
• Darlene and Brian Morris from White Lake pass along our condolences. Darlene and Frank shared a birth date and age. We remember all the great times together during our 25 years in Joe Rich. Sadly our last visit in summer of 2014 was our last contact. Keep remembering the good old days. Frank was an essential contributor to the re-building of our 1st FWD water tender and in the design of our new Western Start FWD engine for the JR Fire Dept. when I was fire chief. Always offered great community service through the years.
• Sorry for your loss Pat and family.
• I have known Frank for many years, he was my boss at Western Star in Mockup and on the A team. He was the boss of all bosses, someone we all respected and would do anything for, that is why his dept's were all successful. Since work closed I have run into him many times and had some good chats. He was a man whom everybody admired and looked up to. He was an awesome boss. My thoughts and well wishes go out to his family in their loss.
"YOU WERE ONE HELL OF A GUY FRANK."
• I worked with Frank for many years at WST. I found him to be a warm, kind man with a quick wit and always had a smile no matter what was going down.
"From Castanet, December 17, 2015:
• Very sorry to hear of Frank's passing, Pat, we enjoyed many rides in the gorgeous back country with the two of you and your trusty Morgan horses.
• Frank was my first supervisor at Western Star and he helped me become a lead hand almost right away. After working with Frank just over 25 years sadly I only saw him a handful of times after Western Star closed, but we always shared a good laugh and reminisced.
Frank was one of those guys that got along with everyone, he will be missed.
Sending sincere condolences to Patricia and Katherine.
• Howard & Gerry Demitor send our condolences to Frank's family. We also have memories of days in Joe Rich!"
"Frank's heart was at Western Star his experince, leadership and problem solving were excellent. Frank worked in an area where everyone dumped thier problems , mostly unfinsihed engineering and production which couldn't be solved during normal production time. Frank and his people were able to accomplish a lot considering the amount of time they were allowed and the amount of assitance they got from other departments. Frank I hope you will be able to work in the mock up above as they can certainly use your services."
"I thought that watching my father die 6 years ago hardened my heart. Frank proved me wrong. When we heard he passed, it was ripped out again.
Frank was the kind of guy you wished was your father, genuine, kind, intelligent with a great sense of humor, a real man. I loved talking and spending time with Frank whether over some pancakes, a garden fresh meal, or just a cup of coffee, but it always left you wanting more.
We cherish the memories of times spent with Frank and Pat at the most beautiful ranch in the okanagan. By far our favorite place to be.
When we moved from Kelowna we thought of Frank (and Pat) often, as we still do, trying to achieve what they made look easy, a peaceful, wholesome farm life and a top notch Morgan breeding ranch. I wish we would have visited and called more often as the knowledge we gained from Frank and Pat was immeasurable, a friendship that seemed to put my faith back in humanity, often we wished we were born in an earlier generation.
I will think and speak of Frank often, as I have from the day we met. Frank will be forever missed and never forgotten."
"My family and I have been lucky enough to have Pat, Frank and Kat in our lives since the early 90’s when we lived in Joe Rich. I remember when we first met Pat and Frank. I think I was around 11 or 12 years old when Pat first rode her gorgeous horse, Tessi, into our yard; and I remember being beside myself with excitement when my sister and I were invited to come ride horses on Pat and Frank’s impeccably kept farm.
We were obsessed with horses as young girls, it was a dream come true to spend a day or an afternoon at the Russells. We often rode with Pat only, but Frank was always such an essential presence and part of the experience. I remember how impressed I was by the sturdy handcrafted wooden boxes in which horse feed was kept, the neat rolling boxes that stored well maintained grooming equipment, and the well-laid out breezeway where we groomed the horses. Everything was perfect and everything had a place, and in this way Frank was present in every detail. After our rides, Pat would often invite us in for lunch and Frank would join us. These were such special and cherished times for me. We would sit in the sun on the back porch and they would talk about the horses, the garden, and the work to be done. My sister and I would listen in fascination and try to keep from completely stuffing ourselves with whatever delicious lunch Pat had prepared that day, just enjoying being there in that setting with the creek sparkling in the sun and the horses flicking their tails and munching happily on grass in the pastures. All these were the elements of the unique life that Pat and Frank made a reality through their hard work. I felt so lucky to be included in something so magnificent, even just for afternoons at a time.
As the years went by since those early days, I gradually came to realize in how many ways Frank was a truly exceptional person. That incredibly hard working yet gentle spirit melded with such genuine kindness and keen intelligence. When I bought my first car I made my decision almost purely based on the car that Frank drove. Surely if Frank had chosen a Subaru with all of his engineering and mechanical genius that was the best possible choice! I don’t think I ever told him that…
And then there were the Christmases that my family spent with Pat and Frank. Again, so special and so cherished. I don’t know exactly why that basement is so magical, but it truly is. Whenever I think of Christmas, I think of that space, and of Pat and Frank. Frank, always a perfect host: your coat magically disappearing but somehow placed precisely where you’d look for it upon leaving, a cozy seat materializing for you right by the fire, and a glass of just-what-you-wanted appearing in your hand before you even knew you wanted it. And then there would be an evening of lively conversation, shared memories in the making, and friendship that always felt like family. I miss him so much thinking about it all, and I can’t quite grasp that he is no longer with us.
To have had such a person in my life has been a gift."
"I will miss Frank... His beautiful sense of humour and kindness. I will always remember his understanding of a girl fresh out of high school learning how to work on a horse ranch. We shared much laughter, a few tears and quite a few rides. Pat and Kathy I am so sorry for your loss. He was a fantastic man who I treasured deeply. These few words will never do justice to the way I feel in my heart about all those Christmas meals, birthdays and thanksgiving spent enjoying his marvellous company. I never got to say it one last time before you were gone, I love you frank. You will not be forgotten.love Sarah east"
"Dear Pat and Kat.
This is a very beautiful tribute to Frank. It brought tears to our eyes Wish we had known him many years ago. We had a surpising number of things in common. He was a wonderful person and was always genuinely interested in us and our adventures with the horses and the "old log splitting" sagas. He will be greatly missed by family and friends."
"Dear Pat and Kat
It has been so very difficult to come up with the right words to express our sympathy for your great loss, and to describe what Frank meant to us. This memorial site is truly inspired Kat, because it is a wonderful tribute to your dad and gives us all beautiful words and pictures to remember him by.
Frank was always interested in what was going on in our lives and we will always treasure the many wonderful conversations over a meal in the magical basement, on the summer deck, or in our home. Time would just disappear and we'd be surprised to see that hours had passed by.
I had the pleasure of knowing Frank for almost 33 years and even though Dave met him much later, they took to each other immediately. Frank was a true gentleman but according to Dave, alone with the guys he could crack a joke not quite fit for the ladies' ears.
Frank was gentle yet amazingly tough and strong. He was most definitely the hardest working man we've ever met and never let anything stop him from completing a task he'd set his mind on.
Pat, I know that Frank was your helpmate in every way and he was always up for whatever activity or adventure you could come up with. He once told me that he liked to do the dishes because that's the least he could after all the hard work and time you put into your great cooking.
We will forever treasure the time we spent with Frank and will never forget his kind, gentle spirit , indomitable will and the firm, unfaltering grip of his hands. He was not just a friend, but a father figure to both of us.
Love to you Pat and Kat - you are amazing, strong women and Frank was so proud of you.
"I've lived in Joe Rich almost 54 years now and I can't remember when the Russells didn't live by the Mission creek bridge. I used to see them quite often when I was younger as Kat and I used to hang around a fair bit. Sorry but you'll always be Kathy to me and it was hard to get used to calling Frank Frank as he had been Mr. Russell for so long. It was comforting knowing that if I had needed something I could have turned to him and he would have been there. When Mom passed away Frank gave me the best piece of advice out of all the advice I received. He put his hand on my shoulder and said "you will probably miss her every day because I miss my mother every day but it does get easier". I hope it gets easier for both of you. Frank is one of those people that I never saw a whole lot of later in life but I know I will miss for the rest of my life"
"Kat, this is a wonderful tribute to your father...you were loved dearly...Cyril & I are very sorry about Frank's passing. We send our sincere regards to you and Pat. We always enjoyed any time we spent with Frank. He will be remembered as a kind and thoughtful person with a great sense of humour who was a pleasure to be around. Frank will be missed. Kind regards from Alex and Cyril."
"From a notebook, December 12, 2015:
Frank Russell left us last night after a battle with cancer. He was a good, resilient and brave man, who treated our children Akela and Kai as grandchildren and Tanya and I as esteemed neighbors. I wish I could have sat with Frank one last time to shoot the breeze. We cherish those Christmas high teas in the festively decorated Russell basement, head to toe in horse and cowboy memorabilia. Or the delicious hearty soups we’d share by the cast iron stove amidst the tack and smell of horse, leather and cut wood.
Over the more than thirty years we have known Frank and Pat, there have been so many good chats, so many good visits. Frank and I hauled wood together a few times. Especially when the kids were little, we would sneak over to Russell Morgans to get our horse fix and to visit with the iconic, and seemingly indomitable, Pat and Frank. We would groom the horses for a bit, then, while Akela tried to befriend the feral cats, Frank would lead Kai off to his workshop to let him tinker with tools, or to show him something he was working on. Frank was always disposed to let the kids climb around inside the army vehicle he’d helped to design at Western Star (the same vehicle we used to haul wood in the back 100). Each December, we would descend on the ranch to seek out a Christmas tree and willow branches near Mission Creek.
Frank was only 78, the man with a vice-grip for a handshake, with huge scaly, work-worn hands, bottle thick glasses, bow-legged walk, dogged purpose and hell-bent stubbornness…
We will always remember those Christmases when he’d dust off the one-horse open sleigh to which he’d ingeniously added two hydraulic truck shocks, hook up Spider (I think) and he and Pat would ride into the Joe Rich Firehall Christmas gathering like Queen Jadis and her minion straight out of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Their entrance was as much part of the fabric of Joe Rich as Mission Creek.
In the ‘old days’, each Christmas the Russells would hang a new creation from John and Donna Birch’s wooden arch at the front of their drive, something reflective of an event or milestone in the Birch journey.
And while Frank has embarked on a new journey of his own, he is forever locked in our hearts.
Pat, we look so forward to spending time with you in the near future. Much love, the Derksens."
"From the moment I met Frank it seemed as though I had known him for years.
Possibly because of our similar interest in horses and nature. I don't know.
Frank had an astounding strength of character, some one you could truly ride the trails with.
Even though I didn't get to spend much time with Frank those moments were indeed memorable.
People like Frank are far and few between and he will be deeply missed.
"When you shook the hand of Frank Russell, you knew he was a man of the soil. Those big fists told you he was a hard working rancher, a man that loved his horses and the land around him. He was not a man that asked for help, hauling so much hay each summer and doing the daily chores with Pat. You knew that those skinny bowed legs of his came from the horses he loved.
When you talked to Frank Russell, you knew he was the salt of the earth. He always had a good story to tell and a good word about everyone. He always had an interest in what you were doing and he was amazed at how technology was changing our lives.
It was always such a pleasure to share dinners in the warmth of the Russell home, as the basement is a collection of antiques and the food on the table was straight from their garden.
We will miss you Frank.
Dirk and Candy"
"Frank was the most honestly pure person we had the honour of knowing. Pat and Frank - wonderful neighbours who were always conscience about their surroundings, loving Mother Nature and protecting her as they rode through the trails on their beautiful property. Frank was a real mensch; helpful to anyone around him who needed help. We will miss him, dearly, his smile, his humour, his kindness. Warm embraces to Pat and Kathy. Wishing you courage and strength to live through this sad time, Fred & Arlene & Scarlett"
"Although I never met Frank, Kat had so many wonderful stories that I miss him..."
"Sending my sincere sympathies to Pat and Kathy at this sad time ! Growing up , I always loved to come and visit , pet the horses and spend time with your famiy . Frank was a very sweet and gentle person , who was always full of humor and fun. I am sure that my dad Ron met him at the gates of heaven ! May Frank rest in peace , he will be sadly missed . . .. sending you love and hugs oxo Jean Philpott"
"Lois and I came to value you, Frank (and Pat) as dear friends, through mutual friends who lived nearby. We remember several times in the past, unloading and stacking hay bales. Your humor was infectious; and you faced every challenge with creativity, whether fixing fences, repairing bridges, or driving his '4-wheeler' – with some of the interior parts being held together with “baler twine”.
Your life, Frank, was one that many of us would wish to emulate. You had 'strength of character' greater than needed for each day, and also let your friends know that you valued them. Frank, you were a genuine person, with no pretense or affectation, the kind that this world could use more of. Your life displayed the principles you lived by; hard work, honesty, compassion, and love for family and friends. We feel that we have become better people because of the privilege of having known you. We wish that we could have held onto you a little longer. You have left us and arrived on the other side a little sooner. Please be there to greet us when we arrive. Until we meet again, may you rest in peace. ---Art and Lois Riegel"
"As kids we always enjoyed going to Pat and Frank's....horses, kittens in the hay barn, floating wooden boats down the creek. Frank always made time for us. Special memories of rides in Western star prototypes and tractors too. Later in life I always enjoyed conversations with Frank. I'm glad my boys got to meet him. After working so hard all his life, he is finally resting. You will be missed."
"Our good friend, Mr. Frank, was a real decemt guy and tough as nails. His strong hands were working man hands. He could keep going long after others had stopped. But he had a kind heart that was always very understanding of people and their circumstances. He was a master cribbage player and could come from behind when you least expected it!! Rats...lost again! He will be sorely missed by all our family, especially at festive occasions, and the annual Summer hot dog roast. We are glad you are at peace now dear friend, and may the God of Peace go with you"
When you go on that most important journey of all,
You will cross the shining sea to the edge of the universe.
There you may be transformed into a star
and shine forever in the western sky.
Go in peace."
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