February 2, 1965 – February 8, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Russ on February 8, 2021 at his residence in Armstrong BC.
Russ was a loving and devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend. He will be carried in the hearts forever of his wife Dianne; his two daughters Uma and Iyla; father Roy (Arlene), brother Brad (Kym), sisters Brenda Buerge (Dave) and Katrina (Fraser), nephew Reuben (Kendal), nieces Ashley Cowan (Dan) and Nicola, mother-in-law Jacqueline Cowan, sister-in-law Robin Cowan, many extended family members, and close friends. Russ was predeceased by his mother Lila Ballance.
Russ was born in White Rock, BC. His love for gatherings of friends and family began early on growing up in Kamloops where their home was always full with food, music, and celebration.
After graduation Russ began his travel and cultural adventures overseas (Tibet, India, Asia, Europe, and the UK) that fostered his love of the arts, diversity, and global world perspective. Russ believed in community and was always striking up conversations with neighbours and anyone he met along the way. He was happiest when he was helping others.
This sense of service supported him in making the unconventional choice to pursue a career in nursing where he explored many specialities before finding his passion and gift in mental health. His career spanned 25+ years; the last 17 years with the Interior Health Authority where he touched many lives; both patients and colleagues, with his humour, giant heart, quick smile, and approachable nature.
He was an innovator (sometimes unconventional) and a strong advocate for the field of mental health and substance use. Russ was a mentor to many and earned the respect of all that had the pleasure of working with him over the years.
Russ loved the outdoors and enjoyed spending time golfing (having just achieved his first hole-in-one this fall!), fishing (annual fishing trip with his dad on the coast was a favourite), hunting (not so lucky but he enjoyed the experience regardless), gardening, and playing outside. He was an avid Canucks fan, evidence by his loud coaching comments during games.
Russ also had a passion for cars (from his first VW van) and riding his motorcycle; he was lucky enough to win a once in a lifetime Triumph Motorcycle trip from Spain to Morocco. One of his dreams was to take his family on an adventure trip, which we were able to fulfill in the summer of 2019 in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Russ was able to share his memories and love of culture throughout the trip, eat some of his favourite Pho noodle soup, and create some very memorable experiences with his three girls.
Russ was an incredible human being. He was goofy (rarely posed for a picture without making funny faces), loving (hugs for everyone), brilliant (his mind never stopped, a true deep thinker), creative (could make up a song or story in a moment), always in motion and doing many things at once, and loved our family traditions (from Birthday ‘Eve’ & ‘Boxing Day’ to hand painted Father’s Day shirts he wore proudly).
His smile and laughter lit up the entire room, and he looked mighty fine in his kilt. Russ lived his motto of ‘Family First’; family meant everything to him and it showed each and every day.
Music was in his soul. He always had music on in the background and many of his favourite adventures involved concerts (live or recorded), choosing and creating playlists, and playing his music game (name that song/band). Songs meant something to him; through the lyrics or tied to special memories. In celebration of his life we ask that you listen to a song and raise a toast to Russ.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions a celebration of Russ’s life will be held in the future when we can all gather together again.
Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family at www.MyAlternatives.ca
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