Donald Russell was born on August 1, 1941, and passed away on April 29, 2021, at his home.
His younger years were spent in Kansas. Life was hard for the family. In 1947 the family moved to New Mexico in search of work, before settling in Klamath Falls and Merrill.
Don graduated from Merrill High School in 1959, excelling in football and track. He had a gift of public speaking and was very good at it. In 1959 he married Myrtle Barnes, raising six children: Shelly, Kathryn, Alesia, John, Ricky, and Brian.
At the age of 18, his first job was working for Tulelake Irrigation District, helping design and construct water structures, and delivering water to farmers. Don spent many hours attending water meetings in Washington, DC and throughout the United States. He was called “The Water Man” from Klamath County.
He was honored being President of Water Users, Oregon Water Association, Fisheries Restoration and Oregon Water Resource Congress 1912-2012.
His biggest achievement was writing grants for millions of dollars to install under ground irrigation pipe for local irrigation districts.
Don was an avid hunter, and especially enjoyed exploring mountains, wildlife, and elk camps.
Don is survived by his wife Ellen; daughters Shelly, Alesia, Kathryn; son Brian; grandchildren John, Aaron, Jeff, Emily, Kayla, Dillon, and Synthea; great grandchildren Madison, Oliva, Gavin, Eli, Liliana, Dean, and Bri.
He also leaves behind a step-son, Lyle; grandchildren Garrett, Thomas, Paul; step-daughter Sonya; grandchild Troy. Don rejoins his first wife Myrtle; and sons Ricky and John.
Memorial services will be held at the Way Station in Malin on May 15, 2021, at 1:00 pm. A pot luck will follow in the Broadway Hall for Don and his son Ricky.
Special thanks to the medical personnel at Cascade’s East, Sky Lakes Medical Center, and High Desert Hospice.
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