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Mark Jeppson Russell passed away on March 27, 2019 surrounded by all of his kids in Gooding, Idaho.
He was born in McCall, Idaho on August 13, 1950 to John D Russell and Betty Rae (Jeppson) Russell. John and Betty managed the Kwik Kurb restaurant there in McCall, and one of Mark's earliest memories is putting on an apron and pretending to take customer's orders.
Amy (Russell) Ward and Rex Russell, his sister and brother, were two of the people he loved and cherished most. They had an awesome childhood. Winters were spent sledding and skiing and summers in the mountains. Mark never wanted to leave the mountains. At the close of camp, he would hide and refuse to get in the car to go back.
His family later moved to Twin Falls. In his teen years, he was better known as "Rosko." His kids grew up with the legends of cliff-diving at Yahooty and his and his buddies' ridiculous fun adventures.
Mark served his mission in France and Switzerland for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He gained a deep and abiding testimony there.
When he returned, he went to BYU. Mark met Kathy (Russell) Russell while at BYU and married her in 1973. Mark and Kathy gave birth to some very unique humans, five kids who worshipped their dad with all of their hearts: Alysson (Russell) Snow, Stacy (Russell) Harker, Jessi (Russell) Stamper, Melanie Russell, and Jeffrey Russell. Each kid has generous doses of flavor and humor. They had no choice in the matter. The genetic legacy bestowed on them by their dad was immutable.
The family quite frankly could not do anything "normal." Banned from going in the grocery store with their mom because children are annoying, Mark would drive surreptitiously through the store parking lot while his kids would spit spitwads on other cars and search for aluminum cans to run over, while singing "Can Smashers." Going to a restaurant was a big deal. And, generally hilarity ensued. Inevitably, at least one person would laugh so hard soda or ice cream shot out through their nose.
The kids were brought up picking asparagus along the canals and huckleberry hunting. Every year, the family gathers on West Mountain at Corral Creek to camp, fish, and play. The whole lot of them literally parade in Donnelly, Idaho decked out in purple pride for the love of huckleberries.
The best of him is known as Silly Grandpa. He has 11 grandkids whose hearts adore him. His grandkids' memories are filled with mountains, Razor adventures, ATV craziness, sledding, huckleberry picking, fishing, trips to Crapatorium Hill, Li's Kitchen in Council, and hanging around the campfire while Silly Grandpa played "Grandma's Featherbed." His grandkids are: Taylor Stamper, Evan Stamper, Sara Stamper, Quinton Harker, Sawyer Harker, Gavin Harker, Sammie Harmer, Chris Harmer, James Snow, Winter Snow, and Charlotte "Zuzu" Snow.
Mark was an amazing brother, dad, and friend. He lived a life of service to those around him and loved his Heavenly Father. He also lived a life of gratitude. Even during the hard parts.
Cancer is crap. But, Silly Grandpa entertained all and kept his sense of humor throughout his battle with cancer. To cover the hair loss, he invested in a Billy Ray Cyrus baseball cap with a faux mullet. He donned the fine cap to the delight of the other patients and the awesome people in radiation at MSTI. Then, he stopped at the Cow Pie Contest and air-guitar-ed with his cane while the cows escaped the high school pasture.
Trixie, his sidekick and dog, preceded him in death. Pretty sure that was a joyful reunion. His parents John and Betty Russell and his step-mom, Jean Russell, and his son-in-law, Matt Harker, also preceded him in death. His greatest love was his family and his greatest blessing the fact that families are forever. He is survived by his five children and his son-in law, Cliff Snow, and his daughter-in-law, Julie (Pinto) Russell, and his 11 grandchildren, and Jinxie, his cat.
Funeral services will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1228 S. Main Street, Gooding, Idaho 83330 at 11:00 a.m. on April 5, 2019. There will be an hour for visitation just prior to the services. Burial will be in the Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Twin Falls, Idaho at 1:30 p.m.
Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service - Gooding Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke's Cancer Center in Twin Falls: https://www.stlukesonline.org/about-st-lukes/donate-or-volunteer.