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Russell W. Welsh

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Russell W. Welsh, age 102, of Wibaux, Mont., passed away on Friday, May 29, at the Glendive, Medical Center in Glendive, Mont.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at the Chapel of the Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home in Wibaux. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, June 5, at the Wibaux Bible Church in Wibaux with Rev. Jeremy Stradley officiating. Interment will follow in the Wibaux Cemetery. Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home of Wibaux is entrusted with arrangements.

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Russell was born March 21, 1907, six miles east of Wibaux on the homestead of his parents, Burton U. and Mamie (Mengel) Welsh. He was born in Dawson County as Wibaux County had not yet been created.

Russell attended grades one through eight at the Baird School, District 40. In 1921 he enrolled in Wibaux County High School but dropped out at the end of the fall semester due to his father's illness and the need for help on the farm. He loved to talk of the haunted house which he and some of his freshman colleagues created near the high school.

Russell was a charter member of the Christian Fundamental Church (now the Wibaux Bible Church) which was established in 1928. He was the last surviving member of the founders.

Russell enjoyed telling of his adventures killing rattlesnakes as he and his horse Billy were herding cattle. Billy, as a colt, had been bitten, and the buzz of a rattler could enliven him to the point where he would dump his rider and leave him to continue the duel alone.

In 1925 the family moved to Wibaux giving the people-loving Russell a new range of friends. In June of 1926, Russell and Ray Young went to the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort D.A. Russell near Cheyenne, Wyoming. This was a cavalry remount school. Russell was immediately assigned a bay, Barnyard Dan, for the duration of the school. Here Russell learned such important military maneuvers as how to short-sheet a bed. At the end of the month, Dan had taught him all the basics of horsemanship, and Russell and his fellow recruits returned to their homes.

In the following years, Russell and his father commuted almost daily from Wibaux to the farm until Burton's death in 1949. Russell now farmed alone and, with his mother, spent several winters in Arizona, adding a fresh circle of friends.

On Oct. 26, 1972, Russell married Elvira (Stewart) Still. He continued to farm and the couple spent several winters in Arizona. Elvira passed away on May 10, 1988.

Russell moved to the Wibaux County Nursing Home in January of 2008. He thoroughly enjoyed his time there visiting with old friends and making new ones. Russell enjoyed people -- visiting with them and helping in various tasks. He was active in the Wibaux Bible Church and at the Senior Citizens Center holding offices in both. Russell was named RSVP Volunteer of the year in 1987. He enjoyed playing pool and other games at the Senior Center and with neighbors. He also enjoyed responding to the requests of teachers at the elementary school to visit their classes and recall his school experiences.

Russell was preceded in death by his wife, Elvira; his parents; his sister, Dorothy Welsh Calvert; and his brothers, Harley and Dr. Donald H. Welsh.

Russell is survived by his nephew, Hugh (Heidi) Welsh and grand-nephew Sean Welsh, both of Rapid City, S.D.; his special cousins, Mildred, Genie, Jim and Mike Welsh and Ruby and Toby Tennant, all of Wibaux, Mont.; Lisa and Tom Watson of Miles City, Mont.; and many additional cousins.

Memorials can be made to the Russell Welsh Ag Scholarship Fund, 502 Second Ave. N.W., Wibaux, MT 59353.

Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.silvernale-silhafuneralhome.com.

Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home, Beach

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