Russel D. Gibbons was born November 4, 1919, in Anacortes, Washington, the third child of Letcher and Lila Gibbons. He passed away at Mountain Glen Assisted Living on July 20, 2013, at the age of 93.
Russel grew up in Anacortes, graduating from Anacortes High School two years earlier than his classmates. He spent much of his childhood with his father in the shingle mills and logging above Concrete. He always said he must have nine lives as he survived several serious accidents including a saw blade splitting his shoulder open and a falling spike which penetrated his skull.
His love of steam came from watching the engines of the mosquito fleet as he rode the early boats to Bellingham for doctor appointments. Helping his dad fire boilers for the mills and their logging operation contributed to this fascination.
He met Lola Conquest in 1941, shortly before he went to work for Boeing. Joining the army
in 1942, he was stationed in England and France during WWII
. He returned in 1945, working at an Anacortes garage and running the projector at the movie theater at night. He married Lola in 1947. Daughter Janice arrived in 1948 and Jo Ann in 1949. Russel was one of the Anacortes guy's "with a jalopy" and he enjoyed the early days of racing on the Anacortes circle track long before Skagit Speedway came into existence. The family moved to McLean Road in Mount Vernon in 1951. Son Jim arrived in April. Russ went to work as a mechanic for Stewart Buick in Mount Vernon at that time, then moved on to Skagit Cold Storage which was part of PictSweet as a refrigeration engineer. Daughter Jean Marie joined the family in 1957. During these years, Russ served as a volunteer with McLean Road Fire Department.
Russ was one of the founding members of Puget Sound Live Steamers. The annual steamboat meet was often the family vacation.
Russel was well known for his ability as a machinist. He was incredibly clever and mechanically inclined. He spent much of his free time "down in the shop" creating everything from replacement parts for a farmer's tractor to helping design a new dip tank for Washington Bulb. His nickname "Doctor" Gibbons would reappear every few years, with another satisfied customer. Russ retired in 1975 from Stokely Van Camp.
Following his divorce, he met Marie Savage and helped her revive SPECIALTY SEAFOOD in Anacortes. They married in 1978. Even in retirement, Russel, ever the thinker/designer/chemist, decided to build his own refinery near March Point and VINTAGE OIL was born. He took great pride in his creation and in his business expertise. Marie was a great support and brought joy to his life. She passed in 2007.
Russ was predeceased in death by his parents, wife Marie, sister Inez, brother L. Eugene, daughter Jo Ann, and grandson Donnie.
Surviving are daughter Jan (Ken) Taylor, son Jim (Barb) Gibbons, daughter Jeannie (Keith) Swanson, granddaughters Shelley Link and Sylvana Swanson, grandson Josh Taylor and great-grandson Wyatt Konen, niece Donna (Chuck) Prentice, nephews Larry (Amanda) Painter and Jerry (Diane) Gibbons, step-daughter Joanne Stuben.
There will be no services as per his request. The family would like to thank the staff of Mountain Glen and Skagit Hospice for their kindnesses. Memorial donations should be directed to the McLean Road Fire Department.