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RUSSELL, H. John - 1944-2016 On the snowy Thanksgiving morning of October 10, a river of ravens swept down and carried John Russell's precious soul to Valhalla. A lover of nature and a studied observer of its ways, John Russell spent his 72 years in a long embrace with the natural world. Born and raised in the Waterton/Twin Butte area, John followed his parents into the mountains on backcountry pack trains and hunting expeditions. He grew strong and wise in cahoots with his brothers Dick, Charlie, Gordon and sister Anne. John learned the high country's magical ways and furthered his knowledge at university where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Alberta. The far north called him. There his attention to precision helped determine the size and numbers of migrating caribou. That knowledge changed the management of the legendary herds, helping in their long-term preservation. John, a committed conservationist, was at home on the family ranch adjacent to Waterton Lakes National Park. He pursued a hands-on approach to issues such as non-native species. He contributed to local science and research and served as an MD councilor. John Russell was generous with his deep knowledge of the region. As a respected field guide, an engaging teacher and a popular speaker, outings with John were cherished inspirational experiences. His presentations of the archival photographs of his grandfather, Bert Riggall, have ignited a recognition and appreciation of these significant historic contributions. He was gentle and kind, inquisitive and joyful. And that laugh, what a laugh. He is loved and missed by his deep friend and longtime partner Valerie Haig-Brown; his son Jonas Dodd and his daughter in-law Magali Bailey; long time friend and mother of his son Sylvia Dodd; his siblings; Dick Russell and wife Colleen, Charlie Russell, Gordon Russell, Anne Raabe and husband Peter; niece, Sarah Russell and nephew, Tim Raabe and his wife Barb Raabe; sister in-law Margaret and husband Graeme; and niece in-law Chris Russell and her daughter Zoe, sister in-law Beth Towe and husband Andy. He was predeceased by his parents Andy and Kay Russell, and his nephew Anthony Russell. Funeral arrangements entrusted to EDEN'S FUNERAL HOME (403) 627-3131 HREF="http://www.edensfuneralhome.com">www.edensfuneralhome.com
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Condolences (6)
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A Great Mentor
Posted by Ryan James (Mentee) On Thursday, March 15, 2018
I was fortunate to spend a week exploring with John in Feb. 2015 in Waterton and at the ranch. I am a young ecologist/botanist, and at the time I was between jobs and sought John for his mentorship on the recommendation of a friend. He shared with me his life experiences working with wildlife and plants and gave me some direction for next steps. I will always remember his kindness and warmth, and the wisdom he imparted on me. It was a blessing to know him!
A huge loss
Posted by Fred Royce (Someone who was fortunate enough to meet John) On Sunday, October 29, 2017
I grew up with Andy Russell as one of my heroes. In the fall of 2016, I was ecstatic when I discovered that John and Charlie were leading nature walks at the Waterton Festival, and that I could join. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to meet and visit with this man during his lifetime. Was looking forward to being able to tell him that I went into the ANWR to see the caribou herd he had studied, but that is not to be.

You will be missed, John Russell.

To John's family and friends
Posted by Don Bourdon (Friend) On Friday, November 4, 2016
We were fortunate to learn from John's quiet wisdom of the natural world. He appreciated the importance of the Russell and Riggall legacies and augmented the massive archival record left by his family with his keen geographic knowledge. Be at peace, John. Don and Margie
John Russel, naturalist, biologist, great friend
Posted by Keith McDougall/Chantal Ouimet (Freinds) On Monday, October 31, 2016
Chantal and I knew John well and admired his keen intelligence and knowledge about the natural world. We spent many enjoyable listening to tales of his caribou studies in the north. Working for parks for many years we always listened keenly to John’s knowledge and were glad to add his knowledge to our own.

John was very generous with his time in teaching people about nature and for several years, lead many natural history courses to pass on his knowledge.

John, will be sadly missed.

Soar with the Ravens, John
Posted by John D Farr (Old Friend) On Saturday, October 29, 2016
John had a vision of the wild lands and understood all the life of plants and animals--he was a part of the famous Russell family and will be missed by many.
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