Virgil RUNNELS Jr.
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RUNNELS, Virgil, Jr. (aka Dusty Rhodes), left this Earth on June 11, 2015. He was surrounded by his four children and his loving and devoted wife. He was preceded in death by parents, Virgil Runnels, Sr., Katherine Trefell and step-father, Mike Trefell. Dusty is survived by his wife, Michelle Rubio Runnels; children, Dustin (Ta-rel), Kristin Ditto (Don), Teil Gergel (Kevin), and Cody (Brandi); grandchildren, Dakota Runnels, Dalton and Dylan Ditto, and Maris and Kellan Gergel. Also survived by brother, Larry (Denay) of Louisville, CO; and sister, Connie Jones (Gary) of Pensacola, FL. Dusty and Michelle spent 37 years of devoted marital bliss. He was the ultimate provider and a legend for all the right reasons. The family would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Dr. Joe Chiaramonte and Brandon Health Management for their loving care and support. The family requests donations in Dusty's memory to Connor's Cure ( and Joe Torre Safe At Home (

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Published in on Jun. 14, 2015.
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1663 entries
May 1, 2021
Wish we had got to meet you and your children. My grandfather was Robert (Bob) Runnels, grandmother Lilly Runnels,
their children Willis, Oad, Lewis, Robert, JE, Jacky, Jewell, Edna Mae, Midge, and Frances my mother. I was born Glenn Bell in a area called the Cherokee nation in the town of Grandfield Oklahoma which close to Cache and Lawton Ok. in 1942. For the last 10 years I have been researching my heritage . Virgil Sr. had several bros. and I'm still searching. FB as Glennt.bell and email I currently live in Paris, Texas.
October 29, 2020
My father was friends with him , he wonderful wrestler yet carry
"The American Dream "
Jeannette Clarke
June 30, 2020
I fondly remember watching Mr. Runnels as a child. He is one the biggest reasons I'm such a huge wrestling fan today. Years later I had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He was everything I imagined him to be. Thank you to his family for selflessly sharing him with me and so many others. May God continue to fill the void that has been left by his earthly absence and may he continue to bless you forever more.
Cherie Williams
January 1, 2020
Dusty, my buddy, named in honor of the American Dream.
You were simply the best. RIP big Dust. I took in a stray dog a few months after your passing and named him Dusty. He's a big, loyal fella and every time I see him I am reminded of all the good memories you gave us in the ring. As a rib to him, when he behaves badly I chide him by calling him Virgil. Your sons are doing you proud in AEW.
Anthony Conchel
November 9, 2019
Thanks for all your hard work in the prowrestling business thanks

God bless you and your family

Dusty Rhodes r.i.p

Big dsnipes
Delmond Snipes
July 12, 2019
Four years on and it's hard to believe such a presence is gone. I count myself honored to have seen you a few times at the old Philadelphia Civic Center. Of course, I watched you on TV every week in anticipation of those shows and you never, ever let the audience down. You were truly larger than life in and out of the ring and you raised a beautiful family. Thank you, Dusty, for blessing us with so many hours of top notch wrestling, the quality of which we will never see again. xoxoxo.
Donna Di Giacomo
June 26, 2019
I'm 54 years old I was 14 when i went to Roberts sports center in Sarasota to be a towel boy and later to put rings together i enjoyed them years as a child to talk to Dusty and Rick flair Harley race all of them some one to look up to thank you for sharing dusty he was good to me and I want you to know he touched all of us God bless.
William Patterson
June 12, 2019
You was greatest wrestler all time
james kleinman
June 10, 2019
August 14, 2018
Raymond Jaquay
June 10, 2018
Time may go on but the dream taught all his fans that living in the now, Family and never giving up is what life is all about. Be proud of who you are. Your dad touched my life even thought I only meet him a 6 times but he took the time to talk to me even thought he was tired and was trying to get to his hotel room for the night, May your times with your dad and husband bring you great joy. Virgil (Dusty) was a special person
Scott Cline
June 9, 2018
Dusty, when I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and married you! Dusty you will always be my favorite wrestler, you are my American Dream!, and I just love polka dots. Dusty, my Dad and I watch you all the time, Thanks for the wonderful memories.
Donna Schick
March 15, 2018
Sorry for the loss.
Hazel Bruin
March 15, 2018
RIP my friend
Paul Reluke
March 15, 2018
James Derehnk
March 5, 2018
I Miss U
Malik James
January 6, 2018
Dusty, you were a great wrestler, and also brought your children up the best. I enjoyed watching you on World Championship Wrestling and The World Wrestling Federation. You inspired me to live the American Dream, and I still do thanks for everything.
Ryan Marriott-Cline
October 23, 2017
Dusty Rhodes I grew up watching you with my papa my Papa loves you too maybe I'll go up there in heaven together talking about how many times he watched you on TV
Michael Verenakis
September 30, 2017
Thank you, Dusty! You were a huge (HUGE) part of my youth and my favorite "rassler" of all time! Your battles with Kevin Sullivan are some of my favorite memories....RIP
N Alonso
July 17, 2017
Thank you dusty! (clap x5) Thank you Dusty! (clap x5) Thank you Dusty!....
Alexander Dixon
June 14, 2017
H grew up watching Dusty Rhodes will my dad when i was a little girl. Ill miss him very much. Mythoughts and prayes goes out to his family. Lisa Duxbury from: Hampton, Virgina
Lisa Duxbury
June 12, 2017
He was awesome. He made me believe The America Dream can be whatever you want it to be. I love him for that.
Danielle Carter
May 18, 2017
Dusty was one of my favorite wrestlers
chris surrett
April 19, 2017
To the family, I send my condolences. I had heard of your loss, but I recently was watching a boxing match and the commentators were comparing one of the boxers to Dusty. And it brought memories.
I was about 7 years old when I saw Dusty in Gainesville, Fl at GHS. This was my first wrestling I had attended. I was so excited that I ran into a pole and knocked the wind out of myself. I got back up and continued to my first event. Thanks for the memories Dusty! RIP
March 29, 2017
Sorry for the loss.

Bruce Deranderson
March 14, 2017
I will always remember Dusty Rhodes for his undeniable courage. He was such an amazing man. He inspired me to become a professional wrestler. Thank you Dusty. Rest In Peace.
Mike Chandler
December 4, 2016
September 20, 2016
My dad,Bennie Atkinson
always said you were the BEST in wresting.There is no one like Dusty.He would make sure to watch you no Saturdays. Rest in peace big guy.
August 22, 2016
Much love Dream from Fla
August 6, 2016
i remember dusty rhodes he is one of my fvorite wrestler and i remember seeing him wrestler all the time when i was and little girl watching it with my granddad i use to love dancing to his theme song american dream i still dance to it until this day
Celestine Dunbar
June 30, 2016
I grew up watch Dusty Rhodes and the feuds with Ric Flair, so much fun to watch, love you Dusty, R.I.P
Patricia Moore
June 29, 2016
The most entertaining wrestler in the world. I witnessed his matches in person along with my son when he was in WWF and WWE. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Valenda Newell
June 17, 2016
I grew up teething on you pro wrestlers skill , you we be missed
May 31, 2016
Candido Sanchez
May 26, 2016
sorry for the loss
d hobbs
May 22, 2016
Long live the son of a plumber
John Mahar
May 17, 2016
It's hard when we remember our loved ones it might be days or a year or more we still cry just like Jesus does at John 11:35
Sandra Vasquez
April 24, 2016
Richard Herrick
February 25, 2016
I want to send my scincer thoughts I knew Virgil personaly Im sorry for your loss, he was the nicest man I met .We will miss him and my family will pray for you and your family
sheree brown
February 24, 2016
My nane is Dusty and all trough my school years my friends called me THE. American Dream i love Dusty Rhodes with all my wrestling heart. He will always be my CHAMPION. Sincerely yours Dusty (TAD)
Dusty mcbride
December 2, 2015
I am sorry for your loss. Please find peace and comfort in knowing God cares for you and will help you in your time of need. At 1 Pet. 5:7, He invites you to "throw all your anxiety upon Him." Continue to rely on Him for strength during this difficult time.
November 24, 2015
angela andrews
November 18, 2015
I loved Dusty growing up, He'd always brought excitement to my heart when he strut his stuff and delivered his world famous elbow.
Jeffrey Ware
November 11, 2015
I remember watching Dusty Rhodes growing up wrestling with Rick Flair, macho man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, JYD. I wasn't a huge wrestling fan, but how could you not remember Babyface?
Something really crazy has happened to me this year. I moved from GA to CO and landed in a city called Walsenburg. Come to find out that I bought a bar/saloon that Dusty owned at some point. I had no idea Dusty owned this place before I bought it. Come to find out from a few locals that he did in fact own the Blue Rooster Saloon in Walsenburg Colorado and lived in the apartment above. I was excited and blown away by the fact I own a piece of Dusty Rhodes. Unfortunately there isn't much info on the internet about Rhodes owning the saloon. I would love to talk with anyone who knows more about the time Rhodes spent in Walsenburg, Co.
Rip Virgil Runnels
Jason Jason
November 2, 2015
Dusty was one of my all time favorite wrestlers. I remember watching him wrestle on t.v at my grandmothers house. She loved to watch wrestling also and Dusty was one of her favorites also. Dusty, you were the greatest and you'll be sadly missed!
Walt Reiller
October 28, 2015
I was a great fan of Dusty Rhodes when I was a child in Mississippi. So sorry to hear of his passing.
Eddye Lane
October 22, 2015
I love u Dusty Rhodes
Theodora Gee
October 22, 2015
Hi I am Dora & I was a huge fan of Dusty Rhodes since I was a child always was & always will be.It hurt me so bad when I learned we had losted him.To his sons his family u have my condolences I feel like he was my family to. I love u Dusty Rhodes more than u know & u will always be missed but never gone or forgoten in our ❤'s....
Theodora Gee
October 14, 2015
I met Dusty twice in Amarillo Tx when I was at the Funk Ranch and he was a really good man and fun to watch , he will be missed , sorry for your loss.
Shawn Wishert
September 28, 2015
My condolences to the family for the loss of such a beloved man. May you find peace thru your memories of him. May your prayers be heard by the hearer of prayers and the God of all comfort. (2 Cor. 1:3)
September 23, 2015
denny scott
September 14, 2015
my grandma favorite wrestle...LOVE YOU FOREVER "DUSTY RODES A LENGEND
September 14, 2015
josie mae oneal
September 14, 2015
You will always live in our hearts and prayers.
Terry Navarre
September 11, 2015
September 11, 2015
I remember Dusty before I was 10 years old on Florida Championship Wrestling, my first clear memory of him was beating then World Champion Jack Brisco w/out taking his hat off & is street clothes.

Dusty has given us many years of entertainment & inspiration, a true legend & he'll be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. 'The American Dream', no one comes close to his legendary status.

RIP, Dust!
Cat Tilley
September 7, 2015
I just found out. I also watched CWF and can remember when Dusty turned babyface and became wrestling's first great entertainer. He was a very charismatic personality that always seemed to have fun at what he did. It was great that his sons followed him into the family business and still kept their own personalities. Thank you Dusty/Virgil.
Ted Stilkind
September 2, 2015
My brother and I would watch wrestling in the 70's and then he would always use the elbow on me. My brother and I are not close now but I know he cried as I did I'm really going to miss the American Dream. RIP Dusty Rhodes.
Shari Daniels-Hess
August 26, 2015
he really made a lot of people very happy,a good guy.
william jumbo ratcliff
August 24, 2015
I was 17 years old first time i saw Dusty in action down in Fld. I had just got to my duty station in Mayport Beach and i was hooked because he was the blue collar man. No one could cut a promo like the dream i will miss him and his voice . USN
August 23, 2015
I remember getting up early on Saturday morning with my dad to watch cartoons then it was on to wrestling. He loved to what Dusty. Thank for sharing what you loved to do with what I love to do with my dad. Watching wrestling. You will be missed
Casey Locklear
August 22, 2015
Dusty Rhodes is a real legend in the art of sports entertainment. His career and legacy can never be rivaled.
Mitchell Williams
August 21, 2015
You have our most heartfelt condolences. Please remember that you're not alone and that you're surrounded by people who love you and care for you
August 20, 2015
Jean Rhodes will miss you greatly. A ND LOVE YOU FOREVER
August 20, 2015
so sad to hear of dustys passing,a real showman.
jumbo ratcliff
August 19, 2015
good bye to you go to miss you so much you a good guy father to your kids love to see you one time on wwe see you soon ok from bunnie family in Norfolk
bunnie bishop
August 19, 2015
he a good guy love him love him on the wwe he kids go to miss him too
good bye
bunnie bishop
August 15, 2015
August 13, 2015
To the Rhodes family I am truly sorry for your Loss.
May you find comfort in knowing he's shed his earthly body and he's no longer in pain or suffering. And his soul is now your Guardian angel watching over you. As well as keeping your place ready for when you will meet again. An avid wrestling fan of his..
August 9, 2015
To the Rhodes Family, I truly sorry to hear your loss my you please find comort in knowing that you are in the thoughts and prayers of many.
G Alexander
August 8, 2015
There was no one like you in the history of professional wrestling. I've wined and dined with kings and queens and sleep in allies and dined on pork and beans.
Rod Hodge
August 5, 2015
Your the best Big Dust
God Bless,
Greg Alexander
Greg Alexander
August 5, 2015
RIP Big Dust, Wrestling ain't gonna be the same without ya
Dave Brasuell
August 4, 2015
Words can't express how us ad fans of wrestling will miss seeing you and hit rod in wwe, your sons are big part of your legacy
John Mahar
August 2, 2015
Please extend that wonderful Smile of your this weekend to Rowdy Roddy, like you, taken too soon from this mortal Earth. RIP Dream
Doug P.
August 2, 2015
Dear Dream, Open the ropes and let Rowdy Roddy in with that Smile on your face. You two should still be with us Down Here. RIP VR JR>
August 1, 2015
RIP Dusty..... You a great part of my childhood, Thank you. God Bless you and all your family, you will be missed, and never forgotten.
Richard Powers
July 26, 2015
He will be missed but not forgotten
July 24, 2015
One of the very best....I use to go with my grandpa every Tuesday night in Odessa Texas and watch him when he first started out...always one of my favorites...RIP Dusty
carol ensley
July 20, 2015
He was 1 of the GREATEST of all time may he rest in peace with the Lord above
Monroe Ramey
July 18, 2015
The American Dream Dusty Rhodes he was
from Austin, Texas. In deepest sympathy
to the family of losing a father is so sad. Diana Shanafelt
Diana Shanafelt
July 18, 2015
May all the memories of Dusty Rhodes comfort his family, friends and fans. Soon death will be no more.
July 16, 2015
Dream, thanks for everything you did for the business. Thank you for the happy childhood memories. God bless you!
Ben Phillips
July 15, 2015
Thanks for the many many memories of the matches! My thoughts are with the families who will miss this giant of a man - May You Dream On....
Diana Keefer
July 14, 2015
Please accept my deepest sympathy regarding the loss of Dusty Rhodes. I remember as if it were yesterday watching him wrestle and becoming a champion. May God grant you peace during your sorrow ~Romans15:33.
July 14, 2015
May You Rest In Peace Dusty!
Always!! I always enjoyed Monday nights when you were at wrestling.

To his family I am so sorry for your loss!
July 13, 2015
You were so awesome to watch! R.I.P
Chris Liguez
July 13, 2015
One of the greatest wrestlers in history. My autistic son misses you like crazy. You will live forever in our hearts.
Daniel Rowland
July 11, 2015
MAY GOD KEEP YOU CLOSE TO HIS HEART, you were truly the american dream. THE BEST OF ALL TIME !!!!!!!!
July 11, 2015
I always enjoyed watching every match that rhodes wrestled in. I even watched some of his old matches when he was a heel wrestler teaming with Dick Murdoch and i still thought they were a great tag team despite being billed as heel wrestlers. I even liked rhodes short stint with the NWO in wcw. God bless the rhodes family. Thank for the memories.
Jeff Hill
July 10, 2015
He was the best...
Wayne Murrell
July 9, 2015
Dusty Rhodes was a true American Dream wrestler who became a superstar. I will missing you so much. You had brought two sons and they do miss you alot. Diana Shanafelt remeber you as a true famous superstar. I do love you dearly, fan Diana Shanafelt
Diana Shanafelt
July 9, 2015
Hall of Fame wrestler of the years. You were the very best friend to know you more. Diana Shanafelt is a true fan member of you Dusty Rhodes. You always have a great sense of humor. I will miss you dearly, fan member diana shanafelt
Diana Shanafelt
July 6, 2015
My Dear Dusty Rhodes:

I grew up watching you since I was a kid, you reminded me of the way my kin talked from West Virginia, I thought and still think you are a wonderful person and wrestler. Sad day when you left wrestling, you will be deeply missed by millions of people. RIP my dear friend.
Connie Lawson
July 1, 2015
Mary Green
June 30, 2015
Danny Israel
June 29, 2015
You will be missed....
June 28, 2015
I have a lot of Great memories as a 8/9 year old kid, watching the Dream perform, mainly doing Battle against Ric Flair....CLASSIC!!! So many years of Great entertainment. Truly a Legend and one of the Greatest of All Times. Rest in Peace, Dream...The Blue Eyed Soul Brutha!!!
Myke Hall
June 25, 2015
May the American Dream live on!!!
Sandra and son Wilbert Adamd
June 25, 2015
When I needed a hero you were there.. For me you were bigger than life. I hated Ricky Flair because he was your enemy. I hated the The 4 Horsemen because they were out to destroy you. A piece of me is gone now, I will always be glad I got to see you live at the Convention Center . In your honor and memory I will listen Old Time Rock and Roll(the live version) and Midnight Rider.All "they will know is violence". Thanks for the memories and THANK YOU FOREVER for being my hero.
Bulldogg Kev
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