George Russell

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

George (Dord) Gordon Russell 96, of Nampa, Idaho, died peacefully Saturday, May 5, 2012, in his sleep at a Nampa care center. Truly, his passing was a surprise.

George, known by family and close friends as Dord, lived a full life where he loved to explain, "When you've seen the world literally go from the horse and buggy to the moon and back you have seen a lot."

George was born July 11, 1915, to George William Russell and Ethel (Jones) Russell on a Russell family homestead near Kuna, Idaho. When old enough to travel, George and Ethel returned to their homestead at Smith Prairie, Idaho. George was raised there until his parents divorced in 1925 when he was 10 years old.

He and his mother followed an aunt to Seattle where he attended school until the eighth grade and, as was common in those days, dropped out to find whatever work he could. He supported himself and his mother by both delivering Seattle papers and working at the stables. When his mother remarried when he was 15, he returned to Smith Prairie, Idaho.

The Prairie, with its family ties and its way of life, was center to him. Besides helping with the family homestead, he rode several years for the Smith Prairie Cattle Association and worked around the many sheep ranches of Mountain Home and Bruneau. When the work would become scarce there, he would often train polo and cavalry horses and work at the Boise Riding Academy and Stables.

On Oct. 22, 1936, George married LoRene Alice Dodd in Mountain Home, Idaho. They returned to Smith Prairie where they continued to ranch and farm until 1942. It was then that George and LoRene moved to Seattle to join the war effort. George became a welder in the shipyards and later trained and tested to become a rigger. He always explained that he liked that job a lot better even though it was outside in the Seattle rain. He loved splicing and working with the lines and he would grin and say, "And it paid more!" While there, he even found time to work with the race horses at Longacres, especially when Lou Crawl from Idaho came to Seattle.

When the war was over, George suddenly announced to LoRene that they were selling out and returning to Idaho. When they returned to Idaho, they purchased a farm on Eagle Island.

True to his livestock heritage, he and LoRene wintered sheep there for Gabaola for several years. In 1952, they sold that farm and moved to Meridian. There, he found employment at Idaho Pine Co. However, true to form, he soon found himself looking for another farm.

In 1954, they purchased a farm off of Maple Grove where George farmed and milked cows while continuing to work at the sawmill. Idaho Pine closed for a period of time and reopened as Meridian Pine, and George became self employed, hauling bulk wood shavings and wood chips to dairies, feed lots and chicken farms.

In 1965, George and LoRene purchased the homestead and the cattle grazing permit at Smith Prairie, which they leased out the ground and grazed their cattle up there in the summers. Though they never returned there to live, they loved dreaming that some day they would.

George loved to return there just see what was going on. In 1967, he sold the property on Maple Grove and bought eighty acres at Kuna. There, beside trucking, he was a member of the Hereford Association and raised registered Hereford cattle. They sold the ranch at Kuna 1977 and downsized and semi retired to Nampa.

In early 1980s, he bought another property at Smith Prairie. In 2000, George sold the small farm in Nampa where they were living and moved to a small acreage on Willow in Nampa. There, he had a horse or two and never missed a livestock auction if he could help it.

Even into his eighties, George remained very active, loved to help others and loved his family and friends. To the end, he always had a love for babies and children. And, of course, always loved to talk livestock.

Aug. 3, 2001, the love of his life, LoRene A. Russell, passed away. George continued to live by himself for several years. His family, however, found they had to move him into assisted living where he was very well taken care of in several valley facilities, the last being Ashley Manor on Midland in Nampa.

He loved to talk and was very quick witted clear to the end. The family wishes to thank the staff there for the care and love he received. Also, thank you to XL Hospice, who were fantastic with their care for George and updates and concerns for the family. Truly his passing was a surprise to all of us. Many thanks to all of you!

George is survived by his son and daughter in law, William B. and Sue Russell of Truth or Consequences, N.M.; his almost daughter, Linda Nicks of Colorado Springs, Colo.; his son and daughter in law, Rickey Lee and Ellen M. Russell of Nampa, Idaho; along with grandchildren and great grandchildren covering a host of states. Dad, Dord, Grandpa, you will be so missed!

He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, LoRene A. Russell, and his 101-year-old brother, Jack Russell of Laurel, Mont., who passed away last year.

A viewing will be held on Wednesday, May 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Summers Funeral Homes, Ustick Chapel. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, May 10, at Morris Hill Cemetery at 2 p.m. Arrangements under the direction of Summers Funeral Homes, Ustick Chapel.