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Curtis W. Russell Sr.September 11, 1931 ~ July 13, 2017 (age 85)
A celebration of life and potluck for Curtis W. Russell Sr., 85, of Coos Bay will be held at 12 p.m., Saturday, July 29 at the North Bend Community Center, 2222 Broadway Ave. in North Bend. Private cremation rites were held at Ocean View Memory Gardens in Coos Bay.
Curtis was born Sept. 11, 1931 to Betty and Curtis Wayne Russell in Sharon, Miss. He passed away July 13, 2017 in Coos Bay.
Curtis had a brother, Buddy and two sisters, Loretta and Celia. He and his brother were raised in Mississippi by their Grandpa Broom. He had a wonderful childhood and shared many funny stories about the shenanigans he and his brother would get into.
Once Curtis was able to join the military, he enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served our country for 23 years. He was a frogman (modern day Navy Seal). While in the Navy, he spent time in the Philippines, Korea, Hong Kong, and worked a year and a half on swift boats in Vietnam.
Curtis met Catherine Durschmidt while they were in their early 20s. He was on leave and made "Kitty" (Catherine) promise not to marry anyone while he was shipped overseas. After 6 months, he returned to the United States and married Kitty, Aug. 7, 1954 at the All Saints Catholic Church in Portland. They were blessed with their daughter July 1955.
During their early years of marriage, they lived in Oahu, Hawaii, where Curtis was stationed. Kitty worked as a photographer for the Honolulu Airport, taking many pictures of celebrities like John Wayne. Curt, Kitty and Tricia enjoyed spending time on the beach with friends and made many close friends while in Hawaii and still exchanged holiday cards or letters with many of them.
In 1970, Curtis retired from the U.S. Navy and they joined their family in Oregon. They bought their home in Empire and lived there until each of their passing. They eventually purchased the house next door for Kitty’s Grandma Baker to live and they spent many evenings playing cards or just visiting.
Curtis and Kitty spent 62 blessed years together. During that time, they loved to travel with their daughter, Tricia to visit relatives in Washinton, California, and Mississippi. They were known to stop at a garage sale or two. They would load up their cars with treasures and anticipated what they would find at the next one. Eventually they opened their own second-hand store and Tricia ran the day-to-day business.
Curtis was the head diesel mechanic for Coos Trucking for 14 years and also worked for his son-in-law, Patrick at the Charleston Ice Plant for another 14 years. Curtis could never seem to retire so he purchased the fuel company in Charleston and named it Russell’s Marine Fuel and Supply. He made many long-lasting relationships with the fisherman. They loved hearing grandpa’s childhood stories and about his time in the Navy. Curtis and his daughter, Tricia ran the fuel dock for many years then they brought his grandson Curtis Green on to take over the business. Their granddaughters, Liberty and Carrie enjoy taking care of the bookkeeping and helping their brother and mom with the rental properties. They all enjoy taking care of the business that their grandparents worked so hard for.
Their daughter, Tricia; grandchildren, Liberty, Curtis and Carrie; and great-grandchildren, Chandra, Taylor, Ryan and Noah were the blessings in their life and they loved their close knit family.
Curtis lost his beloved wife, Kitty in June 2016. This loss was very hard for him. Kitty often said that she fell in love with him over and over and loved Curtis more every day. Curtis would goose her behind and she would just blush. They always held hands, never went to bed angry, and said "I love you" every day. Curtis always called Kitty, "his beautiful bride". They truly did live the life of a love song.
Curtis is survived by his daughter, Tricia and husband, Pat Houck of Coos Bay; granddaughter, Liberty Green and son, Ryan Cross of Coos Bay; grandson, Curtis Green and granddog, Duner of Coos Bay; and granddaughter, Carrie, and husband, Tom Vrell; their children, Chandra, Taylor, Noah, Tyler and Kendra, of Coos Bay. He also is survived by his sister, Loretta and husband, Mike Mumford of Gresham; and sister, Celia Burnette of Portland.
Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com