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home : obituaries : obituaries January 24, 2015

8/6/2013 9:45:00 AM
Obituary: Russell Bryant Sandlin
Russell Bryant Sandlin
Russell Bryant Sandlin

Russell Bryant Sandlin entered this life on the family farm on May 1, 1934, in LeFlore, Okla., spending his early years in the Walters, Okla., area. He entered eternity on July 30, 2013, in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

The family was lured west to the California Bay area, selling the family farm in 1942. He attended Pacific Heights School in San Francisco and enjoyed many adventures as a young boy riding streetcars and watching the huge ships entering the harbor. He worked in a deli and sold newspapers in San Francisco.

Jobs in the California oil fields prompted a family move to Taft, Calif., where he attended Lincoln Junior High and graduated from Taft High in 1953, lettering in both baseball and basketball. He also lettered in basketball at Taft College, graduating in 1955. After graduation, he went right to work for Chevron (then Standard Oil Company).

In his 35-year career with Standard (Chevron) Oil, he worked in various positions, with his many years as a manager being among the most enjoyable, earning the respect of his colleagues and superiors. He retired in July 1991. During his career, he attended classes at the Universities of Oklahoma, Texas and Nevada at Reno.

On June 18, 1956, he married his wife of 57 years, Joanne, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

He served his country in the U.S. Army from 1956-1958 in Frankfurt, Germany, as an Army First Cook and also in an Officer's Mess. While stationed in Germany, Joanne joined him and they enjoyed exploring various European countries. This training and enjoyment of cooking lasted throughout his adult life, cooking for various church and community groups. He also served in various church positions as Deacon, Junior High Boys Sunday School teacher, Camp counselor, Christian Education Chairman and church cook. He especially enjoyed preparing Men's Breakfast groups, "feeding the guys."

His hobbies were landscaping, fishing, building and home improvement projects. Joanne would show him a picture and ask, "Can you build this?" and in no time it was in the house. He was also a "car guy." Particular might be the story of his car care.

His kids knew him as the "my Dad can fix anything" guy. He spent many enjoyable hours fishing with his son Steve on various lakes, with the pictures to prove not many got away! Daughter Susan and Russ had many stimulating conversations on economics, business and cooking techniques through the years.

In 1991, he and Joanne moved to Tehachapi, Calif., where he was known as the neighborhood "go-to guy" for advice on home, tool or yard questions. His display of 50-plus handmade birdhouses was a community conversation topic and backyard tour destination. He also sold custom designer birdhouses in the Apple Shed Restaurant Gift Shop.

During his Tehachapi years, Russ and Joanne traveled extensively to many foreign countries as well as many driving trips in the U.S. and Canada, especially enjoying National Parks. They also enjoyed many years vacationing in Durango, Colo., owning a second home there and making many friends. They celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary with a tour of Eastern Canadian cities, a highlight of their travels.

In 2003, Prescott, Ariz., became home, where Russ was active in the First Baptist Church with cooking and greeter's ministry and helping others in the neighborhood as the "handy neighborhood tool man." In later years, he was active in First Southern Baptist Church, Prescott Valley with a friendly welcome as a greeter.

He is survived by his loving family which meant the world to him. His wife, Joanne; son Steve (Cindy) of Chino Valley, Ariz.; daughter Susan of Richmond, Va.; brother Toney (Linda) of Columbia, Mo., and their children; plus many friends in California, Arizona and Colorado. Also, a special cousin, Don (Wanda) Russell of Hartshorne, Okla. A pastor to the Choctaw Indians was very special to him and he enjoyed his many long talks by phone of boyhood days in Oklahoma with Don.

He will be missed for his quick wit, teasing and ready smile, and willingness to always jump in and lend a helping hand to someone in need. He lived by the verse, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

A favorite Bible verse was "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

He will be missed daily, but never forgotten.

The service for Russ will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at the First Southern Baptist Church, 2820 N. Pleasant View Drive, Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Hampton Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements. Please visit www.hamptonfuneralhome.com to sign Russ' guestbook.

Information provided by survivors.

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