Russell W. “Russ” Bird, 54, currently residing in Great Falls, formerly of Livingston, Montana, passed away on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the Benefis Hospital in Great Falls. A funeral service and celebration of Russ’s life will be held on Monday, April 9th, 11:00 A.M. at the Livingston Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1 Guthrie Ln, at the intersection of Hwy 89 south and Guthrie Ln, with veteran’s honors presented following the service at the church; viewing will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. A reception will follow the service also at the church and graveside committal and burial will be at the Bruffey Cemetery following the reception.
Russ was born in Hardin, Montana on October 20, 1963 to Arthur W. and Mildred “Lorraine” (Overturf) Bird, Lorraine was later re-married to William “Andy” Anderson who raised Russ like a father. As a toddler they lived a short time in Alaska and then returned to Lodge Grass where Russ attended elementary school. The family then moved to Livingston where Russ completed schooling and graduated from Park High School the class of 1982.
Following his graduation he elected to join the Navy, entering active duty on August 25, 1982 out of Butte, MT. He served for just less than three years as a FFG- Class 7 Turbine Operator and Mechanic. He received an honorable discharge on July 8th, 1985 off of the USS Duncan stationed in San Diego, CA.
During his time enlisted he came home for a special visit to Livingston; he came home to marry his sweetheart, Linda M. Skillman on May 25, 1985. To their marriage they were blessed with two daughters, Jayme and Jennifer and three foster sons, Shane, Andrew and Corey.
After his discharge he moved home to Livingston for a short time prior to moving to Boulder, Colorado to attend Arrow Tech Vocational. He graduated with a certificate in A.M.P. (Airframe Mechanic Power plants.)
From there he began his career in Everett, Washington at Tramco, later BFGoodrich Aerospace, he worked with them for twelve years. His next venture was with Neptune Aviation Service’s out of Missoula where he worked on P2 Airtankers. He would be assigned to a plane and then stick with that aircraft throughout the fire season. That often left him away from family for long periods of time, but that gave him a leg up on being able to surprise everyone with a surprise visit home. He loved to be home with his family. While in Missoula Russ taught Hunters Education, he loved to share his knowledge with the kids and enjoyed their enthusiasm for hunting. His latest employment came from AvMax out of Great Falls; this is where the family has been living and Russ working for the past seven years.
Russ was first and foremost a family man. His first priority has always been his family. His friends have commented that he was a real and genuine person with a huge heart and was down to earth. We think so too. A Husband, Father, Grandpa, Brother, Son, Uncle and Friend, you will be miss so much.
Russ enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, camping, throwing darts or playing pool and most of all being on the road cruising on his motorcycle.
Russ is survived by his wife of 32 years, Linda. Children: Jayme (Cody) Russette of Great Falls, MT and their daughter, Jayanna Bird; Jennifer Bird of Livingston; Shane Schrader of Cheyenne, WY; Andrew (Collette) Smith of Livingston, MT and their children. Airyonna, Sean, Jayden, Mackinze, Amilya, Phaydra and Addalynn; Corey (Emily) House Gooding, ID, and their daughter, Weslynn; brother, Randall W. Bird of Billings, MT and his son, Ryan W. Bird. Cousins, aunts, uncles, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Art Bird, Lorraine and Andy Anderson; granddaughter, Nevaeh; and father-in-law, Ed Skillman.
Arrangements are under the care of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory in Livingston.