On February 8th, 2021 Jared Daniel Russell was living life to the fullest with his best friend Jerid Kirschenheiter when they were tragically taken from us too soon. A true lover of the outdoors, Jared was doing what made his heart happy, spending time with his best friends and laughing until his cheeks hurt. He would not have wanted to go out any other way than alongside his brother JRod.
Jared was born in Missoula on July 14, 1977 to David and Susan Russell. The first of two children, Jared had a special knack for tormenting his younger sister Jill Russell. Although he enjoyed pestering “Jilly Bean”, he deeply loved her and was a proud uncle to her children Odin and Alcyone. Although they were his only niece and nephew, he was loved and known by many kids as Uncle Bear. A title that made him smile with pride. Growing up in the Bonner/Turah area, he had many opportunities to play outside and get into mischief. When his parents struggled to find a babysitter that could deal with his shenanigans, he began going to work with his best friend, his Dad, at the age of 10. Jared knew how to operate the equipment better than anyone I have ever met and was often left in charge of the crew of men that were two or three times his age. At a young age, Jared learned many things that most parents would cringe to hear while working in the family excavating and auto salvage businesses. No skill more proficient than the language he learned from the truck drivers and mechanics that he grew up around. Jared was unapologetically himself and never afraid to use his favorite four-letter word, even if the timing wasn’t appropriate. He was known for thinking outside the box and fixing things in a pinch. Jared was proud of the reputation Russell Excavating had earned in the Missoula area and worked side by side with his father Dave for many years. He took over Russell Excavating in 2004, becoming the 3rd generation owner and operator. Dave continued to work with and mentor Jared every step of the way. They would argue, laugh, fight and love better than any father/son team around. Jared and Dave had a bond that was unbreakable and made many memories in the community that will last forever.
Along the way, Jared met and fell in love with his “better half” Kristy. They tried their hand at parenthood with their experimental son Trevor Thornburg. Jared loved Trevor like a son and they spent countless hours cutting firewood, snowmobiling, four-wheeling, dirt biking, camping and hanging in the shop working on “stuff”. The shop had a revolving door where anyone and everyone was welcome to stop by for a beer. Jared was a mentor and a big part of many young men’s lives over the years. He was proud of those young boys and even prouder when they grew up to become lifelong friends.
Jared and Kristy were married on July 16th, 2005 and welcomed their first child Luke in 2008. Lucy was born in 2012 and quickly had her daddy wrapped around her finger. She got away with more than her brother every dreamed of. Lucy was gifted with Jared’s spunk and energy while Luke idolized his dad and was always watching and listening. In the short 12 years he had with his dad, Jared taught Luke more than most men learn in a lifetime. Jared was extremely proud of his kids and would often brag that Luke could drive a stick-shift, run a chainsaw, snowmobile, jump off bridges, out-fish and run heavy equipment better than most adults. The kids looked forward to their many Dads and Kids Trips, specifically their gopher hunts up North and Trout Creek fishing trips. Jared’s knowledge, laughter, quick wit and sense of adventure with forever live on in his kids and wife.
Jared lived up to his motto “Work hard, but play harder”. He was well known for cutting out of work early on Thursday for a long weekend in Trout Creek with his lifelong friend Kevin Curtiss. Nobody could pitch Jared more crap than Kevin and get away with it. They would bicker like an old married couple and loved each other like brothers. Jared has many true friends that have been a wonderful support team for his family though this rough time. But his circle was finally complete when he met John. He developed a passion for fishing and beaver trapping alongside his “Brother from another mother” John Wilson. They spent many hours in the jet boat running the river or cruising in the mountains. Jared was a sucker for Craigslist impulse buys and unfortunately passed away before John was able to convince Jared that they needed a fan boat. They had a bond that was unspoken and rare… they understood and accepted each other for who they were. A friendship that truly was a blessing to both.
Jared is survived and loved by his wife Kristy and their children Luke and Lucy. His parents David and Susan Russell, Sister Jill (David Max), nephew Odin and Niece Alcyone; all of Missoula. Numerous aunts, uncles and cousins will forever remember and share his stories. He has also left behind many friends that were considered family. Jared is proceeded in death by his Grandpa and Grandma Russell, and Grandpa and Grandma Malm.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a joint private celebration of life for Big Russ and JRod will be held by invitation only. Family and friends are invited to watch the live-streamed service on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 12:00 p.m., by visiting at www.missoulanaz.org. The online obituary and guestbook are available at www.gardencityfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up on GoFundMe to help support the family through this trying time.
Jared would give the shirt off his back to anyone that needed it. He wrote his own rules, he fought authority and paved his own way. He was world-renowned for his lack of patience, never holding back his opinion and had a knack for telling it like it is. In Jared’s honor, we would like to leave you with one of his favorite quotes. “If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough!” And he was one of the toughest!