Walking On - Richard Gaston and Catherine Russell
Richard Ernest Gaston
Sept. 6, 1936 – May 16, 2016
Tribal Elder Richard Ernest Gaston, 79, was born Sept. 6, 1936, in Warm Springs, Ore., and walked on on May 16, 2016, in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Upon graduating from Sheridan High School, he entered the Army and served in the military for 24 years. During that time, he served two combat tours in Vietnam and served with distinction, receiving two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star with V “device” for valor. He rose to the top of the enlisted ranks, retiring from the Army as a master sergeant.
He continued his federal service by beginning a career as a postal carrier, where he served faithfully for more than 20 years.
Richard was a dedicated member of the Knights of Columbus, where he volunteered much of his free time on weekends, working pancake breakfasts, food drives and other events that raised funds for local charities and churches.
Richard is survived by his wife of 60 years, Christine, and son, Bryon.
A memorial service was held Monday, May 30, at Smith & Kernke Chapel in Oklahoma City with the Rev. Price Grimes officiating. Military honors were provided by personnel from Fort Sill, Okla.
Richard will be laid to rest in the Grand Ronde Tribal Cemetery in Grand Ronde, Ore.
Catherine B. “Kitty” Russell
Jan. 1, 1930 – June 19, 2016
A celebration of life luau for Tribal Elder Catherine B. “Kitty” Russell, 86, of Coos Bay, Ore., was held Saturday, June 25, at the Bastendorff Beach Park gazebo in Charleston.
Catherine was born Jan. 1, 1930, to Earnest and Florence (Pichette) Durschmidt in Grand Ronde, Ore. She passed away on June 19, 2016, in Coos Bay.
Kitty had a wonderful childhood that she shared with her sister, Virginia, and brother, William. Kitty met her husband, Curtis Russell, in Portland when they were in their early 20s. Curt made Kitty promise not to marry anyone else as he was in the Navy and was being shipped overseas. After six months, Curt returned and they were married Aug. 7, 1954, at All Saints Catholic Church in Portland. They were blessed with their daughter, Tricia, the next year on July 20. Kitty and Tricia lived in Milwaukie while Curt was overseas. She worked for Consolidated Freightways while grandma Heisler would take care of Tricia.
During the early years of their marriage, they also lived on Oahu, Hawaii, while Curt was stationed there. Kitty worked as a photographer at the airport, taking many photos of celebrities like John Wayne. She enjoyed hula lessons as a hobby, spending time on the beach with friends and sharing her beautiful life with Curt and Tricia. Kitty made many close friends in Hawaii and still exchanged holiday cards or letters with many of them.
In 1969, Curt retired from the Navy and they joined their family in Coos Bay. They bought their home in Empire and lived there still today. They eventually purchased the house next door for Kitty’s grandma Baker. They spent many nights playing cards or just visiting.
Kitty joined a bowling league at North Bend Lanes and has bowled there for more than 50 years. She made countless memories and friends who she considered extended family. Kitty also worked for the election board, doing blood pressures at the hospital and was also a senior volunteer for more than 34 years, putting in 10,688 hours at Bay Area Hospital until recently. Her granddaughter, Liberty, volunteered as well and that made Kitty very proud. She often referred to Liberty as “her little shadow.”
Kitty and Curt spent 62 blessed years together. During that time, with their daughter, they traveled to visit relatives in Washington, California and Mississippi, just to name a few. They were known to shop at a garage sale or two. They’d load up their car with treasures and anticipated what they’d find at the next one. Eventually, they opened a secondhand store and Tricia ran the daily business.
They bought Russell’s Marine more than 20 years ago. While Curt and Tricia handled fueling the fishing boats, Kitty would do all of the business paperwork. Kitty enjoyed her bookkeeping responsibilities, not only for their fuel company, but for their rental properties as well. Kitty’s grandson, Curtis, is training to take over the fuel dock business and has been working hard the last couple of years learning the ropes. Her granddaughters, Liberty and Carrie, have also stepped up to help at the fuel dock or with the bookkeeping. They’ve all enjoyed working for their grandparents.
Kitty was an amazing grandmother. She attended all of Carrie’s soccer games, whether they were a home game or out of town. Kitty was most proud of Carrie for being a Head Start teacher. She was very proud of Curtis for joining the Job Corps, but missed him while he was gone. So it was a blessing for her when he joined the family business at Russell’s Marine.
Her granddaughter Liberty worked several years in banking, mortgages, title and escrow, and most recently helping Kitty with the fuel dock bookkeeping. Kitty loved that she was so professional. Her daughter, Tricia, was truly a blessing in her life. Both of them shared a love for the Lord and passion to not only be good Christians, but just to be kind to others.
Kitty loved her husband, Curt, for more than 60 years. She often said that she fell in love with him over and over, and loved him more each and every day. He’d still goose her on the behind and she’d blush. They always held hands, never went to bed angry and said “I love you” every day. Curt still to this day calls her “his beautiful bride.”
Her four great-grandchildren are going to miss her very much as they each had something special they shared with her. Chandra and grandma enjoyed bowling, picking flowers and photography. Kitty even bought Chandra her first camera. Taylor and grandma also enjoyed bowling and picking flowers. When Taylor was very young, she loved visiting grandma so she could play with the teddy bears and baby dolls. Ryan enjoyed talking politics and finances with grandma. She said that he was a “smart cookie” and could be president someday. Noah, the youngest, was the apple of her eye. They loved each other’s hugs and kisses. This last Easter was special for grandma Kitty and she enjoyed watching Noah hunt for eggs.
Kitty is survived by her husband Curtis Russell; daughter Tricia and husband Pat; granddaughter Liberty and her son, Ryan; grandson Curtis and his dog; granddaughter Carrie and her husband, Tom, and their children, Chandra, Taylor and Noah. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister and brother.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations in Kitty’s name be made to the Relay for Life, as that was very important to her,= at www.RelayforLife.org/CoosCountyOR.com.
Arrangements were under the care of Coos Bay Chapel. Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com.