Russell Todd Hochhalter, 32, of Bozeman passed away Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, of heart failure while snowboarding at Bridger Bowl.
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He was born June 5, 1976, in Missoula to Dorothy and Clyde Hochhalter, along with his twin brother, Bradley. He joined 3-year-old brother, Scott.
He graduated from Sentinel High School in Missoula in 1995, then attended ITT in Spokane, Wash., where he received his associate degree in electronics engineering. His career began by working /traveling throughout the U.S. for AT&T while based in Denver, Colo. He also worked at Breckenridge, Colo., on the ski slopes as a snowboard instructor for two winters. It wasn't unusual for him to take friends along for some backcountry snowboarding as well. The past six years he worked as a carpenter; first in Missoula for two years, then in Bozeman for the last four.
From the time he was in high school he pursued many outdoor activities such as camping, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding and kiteboarding. His early desire was to become an airplane pilot, but knowing it wasn't feasible because of being diabetic he pursued paragliding. He was hooked! It was a proud day when he was able to add the title of "Pilot" to his many accomplishments. Pursuing his own business as an Internet retailer encouraged him to look forward to enjoying the "better life" someday.
He never let any grass grow under his feet. There was always a new adventure on the horizon. He recently added ice fisherman and swing dancer to his list. Winning a dance competition as part of a group last spring at MSU brought joy to his face as he described the event. Being a proud uncle to three beautiful nieces brought him joy.
He was active in his church, especially by volunteering and working with young people.
He wasn't boastful, never asked for help or complained of the struggle he inherited with the diabetes at age 2. He lived life with optimism and enthusiasm. Companionship, mentorship and generosity were a natural part of his everyday actions.
Russell was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, George and Ruth Gates of Corvallis; and his paternal grandparents, Emma and Emmanuel Hochhalter of Missoula.
He is survived by his twin brother, Brad (wife, Melissa and daughter, Eva) of Portland, Ore.; brother, Scott (wife, Renee and daughters, Zoe and Kyra) of Littleton, Colo.; and mother, Dorothy Gates of Missoula; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Pallbearers will be Scott and Brad Hochhalter, Dave Phillips, Matthew Kupilik, Dustin Smith, and Andrew Guderian. Honorary pallbearers are Jerry Gregoire, Josh Wattles and Jess Troyer.
Visitation/sharing will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at Garden City Mortuary, corner of Mullan Road and Broadway, Missoula; viewing will be 7:45 to 8 p.m. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at Blessed Trinity Catholic Parish in Missoula, with Father Jim Hogan officiating. A luncheon at Blessed Trinity will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; www.jdrf.org.
Garden City Funeral Home
1705 West Broadway
Missoula, MT 59808
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2009