Russell Eugene Cromwell, 43, of Missoula MT passed away October 10, 2022 surrounded by his family in a circle of love. He was met on his new journey by Grandma and Grandpa Simmons, Grandma Mary and Grandpa Leon, Great Grandma James, Uncle Larry, Uncle Phillip, and Aunt Betty.
Russell grew up in Missoula. As a child, Russell spent many weekends and evenings up Lolo Creek “running the logging roads” with his Grandpa Russell and Uncle Phillip. Together with his brother, Eric, the four of them enjoyed countless hours of exploring and endless entertainment, drinking root beer and “smoking” candy cigarettes. Russ graduated in 1997 from Sentinel HS. In 1997, he was employed by Opportunity Resources Inc. Russell prided himself on being part of the Forest Service & Smokejumper team for over 25 years, working on the Opportunity Resources Janitorial Crew at the Aerial Fire Depot and Missoula Smokejumper Base.
Russell was an athlete with Special Olympics in swimming, shot put, relays, and other events. He took pride in the medals he won and all the achievements and the many friends he made.
Russell enjoyed spending time with family and friends hunting, fishing, playing cards, and going to Griz games. His enjoyment of card games was well-known by family, and gatherings inevitably ended with an evening of cards. He would lull you into a false sense of security and then wham he would have the winning hand…again! Russell and his Uncle Alan had a 20-year ongoing computer game of Diablo and Uncle Alan misses his partner, saying he has no one to rescue him now.
Six years ago, the family bought 7 acres near Paradise and called it The Outpost. The railroad where you cross was dutifully named Cromwell Crossing. Russell had his own site on a bench named Russell’s Bench, by his dad Leon. He had the company of wild turkeys, deer, squirrels, birds, skunk (shudder), and even a bear. His bench had a big, open space to enjoy the night skies and star gazing. The fire pit he built was an evening pleasure and was right outside his trailer he received from his Grandpa Russell. The trailer, too, had a name, “Grandpa’s Hut.” He had built his very own happy place! Russell enjoyed the wood gathering and using the chainsaw, cutting up the campfire wood, and clearing brush. He loved running the four-wheeler up to the four different levels of the property. He had his Evil Knievel moments and it was a joyful activity. The St Regis River was a very close fishing hole and you could often find Russell there with his brothers, Eric and Evan, and his Dad. He was very successful and proud to be catching dinner.
Russell really enjoyed lake fishing, and the fishing trips to Fort Peck with his father Brian and brothers Eric and Cory were high points in his life. He proudly posed with the many? pike he caught. Russell always looked forward to the hunting trips with his father. When Russell was born, his father’s first words to him were “This is my little hunting buddy!”
Russell had a great many friends from work that he enjoyed and who were a big part of his life. Russell was there to help plan parties, barbeques, and outings. He was so proud of the barbeque he hosted this summer and thought through every detail of a perfect barbeque. Cooking was a new passion and he was becoming a whiz at AllRecipes.com. He would also call family members and ask for their recipes of his favorite items. Later, he would proudly send family members photos of the end result. He was looking forward to the Annual Christmas Cookie Bake-A-Thon this year with the family and delivering his goodie bags to one and all.
Russell was a huge part of his Auntie Kathy and Uncle Alan’s lives. He was with them in Chelan WA when he was only 4 years and was Alan’s little man for two weeks and they were quite the little twosome. Walking down the beach with 100 ducks following them for the bread they had from the bakery. He and Eric were at their homes often and were their first children. When their own children, Lindsey and Aaron, arrived, Russell was included in many of their trips to Oregon and the ocean during spring break and summers. Later when they moved back to Missoula, Russell was always invited to their table for all the holidays and special events. He would come over and spend weekends just to hang out and play games. He was included in Easter egg hunts, the Christmas costume party, tubing at the lake, Forest Service lookout camping, lake trips, and anything else they did as a family, he was with them. He loved using the chainsaw in the last cleanup project and did an amazing job of sawing the log pile. From baby to adulthood Russell was their eldest child and always part of their family.
Although Russell did not serve in the military, you would not know it by the pride he took in his Country and the serving branches. He was proud to come from a military-heavy family and sported the Marines motto on almost everything; hats, shirts, hoodies, coats, bumper stickers, keychains. He was a true patriot. Semper Fi!
Russell will always be remembered for his thoughtfulness, smile, laugh, and big heart. He was always generous with friends and family – generous with his time, sharing his money, with his enthusiasm for barbequing and cooking, and just being an all-around nice guy.
Russell is survived by his Father Brian (Sandy), Mother Darla, Dad Leon, Grandparents Russell and Rosemarie, brothers Eric, Evan, Cory, and Luca, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He will also be dearly missed by his girlfriend and love of his life, Kristina Tromp, and his many friends.
Russell will be celebrated at a later date in summer of 2023 at his land near Paradise, his Happy Place.