Russell Alan Yerian, 42, of Whitefish, MT, born July 8, 1981, died July 16, 2023, near Hungry Horse, MT.
He was a happy baby with a mischievous grin that he carried with him throughout his life. Scott, Kathy and Russell moved to Eureka, MT, in 1984. Eureka allowed Russell to pursue his fascination with how the world worked in a safe and beautiful environment.
Russell was mechanically inclined his entire life. He spent many childhood summers near Ledger, MT, with his maternal grandparents, Ted and Jesse Fowler. Grandpa Ted taught Russell to weld, fabricate what he needed, problem solve, butcher beef, and save himself from rattlesnakes. He learned about Eastern Monana, ranch life, fence fixing, and cattle branding, from his uncle David and Aunt Shawnee, near Terry, Montana. When Russell visited his aunt Judy and uncle Terry in Browning, Montana, Russell was shown the beauty of pow-wows and the dry wit of our rez family. Russell’s influences in Eureka, his dad Scott, Jim Finch, Butch Gwynn, Ray Peterson, and Mark John, all taught him to move confidently in the woods with either a chainsaw or a hunting rifle. Russell loved felling timber and supplemented his income throughout his adult life by selling larch loads to friends and family.
Russell’s favorite sports were football, wrestling, and golf. His grandpa Jack Yerian taught him to box and golf. Grandpa Jack and Grandma Ruth taught him about traveling the southwest, horse racing, power pole climbing and installation, and art. His mother Kathy Yerian, taught Russell how to work hard and be grateful for all his friends and family, how to cook, and how to keep striving though life regardless of what adversity came his way.
By high school, Russell was ready to further explore the United States, and he signed up to go into the Army after he graduated in 1999. He sent his family letters through basic training and airborne school. His mom and sister would patiently wait for his letters to arrive so they could read together, laugh, and cry over their contents. Russell was a proud diesel mechanic for the 82nd Airborne Division. His stories of his jumps delighted and terrified his sister, mom, dad, family, and friends. Russell was honorably discharged in 2002.
After the service, Russell returned to Eureka, and worked for Lone Pine and Owens and Hurst Lumber Mills. He met the mother of his children in the log yard, she was a log scaler. They dated for a number of years and got married in 2008. They welcomed their son Wyatt in November of 2008, and their second son Quinn in the spring of 2011. Some years later after living in Columbia Falls together, they divorced. Russell’s sons meant the world to him. He loved them with all his heart and soul. In honor of them, he carried their initials, in tattoo form, on the outside of his forearms.
After a number of diesel mechanic jobs in the Flathead Valley, Russell began working for LHC in 2015. He truly enjoyed his coworkers and keeping LHC’s asphalt plant and heavy equipment running throughout the winter, and especially the summer months. The hours were long and hard, but Russell took great pride in his work. Some of his work friendships became a source of comfort and strength over the last few years. Russell cherished their support and love.
Russell had a great love for music, especially outlaw country. He had the opportunity to experience many amazing live shows with family and friends. Music and art were two outlets for Russell in this hectic world, and they kept him grounded. He left a massive crater in everyone’s lives with his passing. One none of us can expect to fill in quickly. Time will help heal our wounds caused by his passing, but all of the memories and laughter he created will never be forgotten.
Russell is survived by his parents, Scott and Kathy Yerian; sister and brother-in-law, Kristina and Brad Buhmiller; sons Wyatt and Quinn Yerian; fraternal grandmother Ruth Yerian; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A graveside service with military honors will be held for Russell on Saturday, August 5, 2023, 1:00 p.m. at the Tobacco Valley Cemetery in Eureka. A celebration of life will follow at Jerry’s Saloon, in Fortine, at 3:00 p.m. Services are under the care of the Schnackenberg Funeral Home of Eureka. Memories and condolences may be shared online by visiting www.schnackenbergfh.com.