James Olaf Russell


Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006


  James Olaf Russell

James Olaf Russell

Former Clam Gulch resident James Olaf Russell died Thursday, May 18, 2006, in Billings, Mont. He was 88.

Burial services where held at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Billings.

Mr. Russell was born Dec. 17, 1917, in Billings. He was the first of six children born to Jess J. Russell and Winnie E. (Solso) Russell.

Mr. Russell married Edith Halvorson on Oct. 6, 1940. They had six children, James, Wanda, Nancy, Neva, Ronald and Richard. They divorced June 24,1971. He then married Stephanie Boyce on Aug. 15, 1975. The couple had one daughter, Darcy. Mr. Russell adopted Stephanie’s son, Leon. They divorced Jan. 20, 1987.

Mr. Russell worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad repair shop during World War II, He started his own business, Russell Roofing, in 1952.

In 1960 the family homestead in the Clam Gulch area. During his time in Alaska, Mr. Russell worked numerous jobs, including commercial setnetting in Clam Gulch, and on the current Ninilchik bridge.

He also helped with the preliminary survey for the “Big T” Road to Tustumena Lake.

“Jim had many adventures while making more than 30 trips over the Alaskan Highway. A favorite was when he helped British Columbia big game guide Jimmy ‘Midnight’ Anderson live trap Stony Mountain sheep in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for a Canadian zoo,” his family said.

He returned to Billings in 1966, where he restarted Russell Roofing, which he operated until he retired in 1997.

Mr. Russell was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Wanda; and four siblings.

He is survived by his sister, BJ Russell; and children, James, Nancy, Neva, Ronald, Richard, Darcy and Leon.

Arrangements were made by Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings.

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