Russell H. Chaney, 88 of Sterling, was born Dec. 20, 1925 in Sharon Springs, Kan., and died Sun., Feb. 2, 2014, in Sterling. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at Chaney-Reager Funeral Home. Funeral service 11 a.m., Friday, Feb.7, at Trinity Lutheran Church. Burial will follow at the Riverside Cemetery.
The son of Russell J. And Amelia (Brunkhorst) Chaney, Russ lived on a farm in Sharon Springs, Kan., until the early 1930s during the Dust Bowl. The family then moved to Imperial, Neb., where he began his schooling, attending schools throughout Western Nebraska until 1938 when the family settled in Ogallala, Neb., where Russ attended junior high school. The Chaneys relocated to Salina, Kan., in 1940 and then to McCook, Neb., in 1942 where Russ completed high school, graduating in 1944.
Russ was very athletic, competing in all sports, and during his senior year he was selected to the Nebraska Class A All State Team in basketball.
After graduating, Russ entered the United States Army, serving from July 1944 to June 1946, in Central Europe and Rhineland. He was a trailblazer with the 275th Infantry Regiment. He was honored with several medals including three Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
After leaving the service, Mr. Chaney attended the University of Nebraska in 1946, graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education.
He then earned a Masters Degree in 1950 from the University of Denver. On Nov. 25, 1950 he married Carolyn M. Dayton in Golden.
For two years Russ taught and coached in Agate, moving back to Denver in 1952 and then in September of that year he took a coaching and teaching job in Meadow Grove, Neb.
The Chaneys returned to Denver in June 1953 and Russ began working in the funeral industry as a trade embalmer until August 1955 when he entered the Dallas of Mortuary Science Institute, graduating in June 1956. He then went to work for Olinger's Mortuary until moving to Sterling in 1959.
At that time Russ and Carolyn with Richard and Caroline Walters, Carolyn's parents, purchased the Jackson Mortuary, forming the new Walters-Chaney Funeral Home.
In December 1971, the Chaneys bought the Walters share in the company and renamed it the Chaney-Walters Funeral Home and continued to serve the community. The Chaneys had been partners with Mike and Susie Reager since 1999 at the Chaney-Reager Funeral Home. In his 55 years of service, Russ served over 4,500 families.
Russ had a lengthy commitment to community service, having served as the Logan County Coroner from 1983-1987, was a life member of the American Legion Post No. 20 where he was a past commander and past adjutant and was secretary of the Board of Trustees from 1967-1986, was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3541, was a life and charter member of the DAV Chapter 34, Rotary Club and was a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, Colorado Funeral Service Board, and the Northeast Colorado Funeral Directors Association. Russ was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Throughout the years, Russ enjoyed raising all sorts of animals. He especially enjoyed hatching eggs of guineas, ducks, geese and his favorite ostriches and watching them grow up.
Mr. Chaney is survived by daughter, Barbara A. Kelley and Richard Taylor of Sterling; sisters-in-law, Carmen Chaney, Ill., and Maxine Chaney of Denver; five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson, Shane Kelley of Broomfield and daughters Shaela Kelley and son Noah Ramey of Sterling, Shelby Kelley of Broomfield; Tara Tennant and Chris Rangel and daughters, Skylar and Terra of Arvada; Andy Chaney, wife Anna and children Rebecka and Russ of Canon City; Aaron Munn and Stacey Evans and children Tyler Munn and Cody Munn of North Las Vegas, Nev.; Stanley Chaney of North Las Vegas; and extended family, Sheri Coons and husband Buster of Fleming, John Taylor and wife Teri of Fort Collins, and Josh Taylor and Amber of Arlington, Wash. and families.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn on June 7, 2004; sons, Russell C. Chaney on March 28, 2010, and Stanley R. Chaney on Feb. 11, 1982; and daughter, Nancy Chaney on Aug. 17, 2013; sisters, Arlene Roberts and Julene Allen; and brothers, Paul Chaney and Vern Chaney.
Memorials in Mr. Chaney's honor may be made to the Hospice of the Plains or to the Trinity Lutheran Church.