John Nicholas Russ

July 31, 1922 – Oct. 15, 2018

TORRINGTON – John Nicholas Russ, 96, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, at Torrington Community hospital.

Funeral Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, at St. Rose Catholic Church with The Rev. Father Ray Moss officiating. Burial will follow in the LaGrange Cemetery in LaGrange. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the funeral home. 

In lieu of flowers, the family would like a donation to be made to the VFW #2918 and/or Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends may send their condolences to the family at .

Johnnie was born July 31, 1922, in Sunrise, the son of Necola Russo (AKA Nick Russ) and Concetta (Sarlo) Russ. When he was growing up, most of his time was spent in Sunrise, except for the period of time during the depression that he and his family moved to Ogden, UT to work on a farm. After moving back to Sunrise, John graduated from Sunrise High in 1940. After high school he attended the University of Wyoming for a year and a half, during that time he completed some of his military training. He then joined the Army Air Corp and spent two years in England where he was an aircraft corrosion control repairman. When he came back to Sunrise he worked for CF&I (Colorado Fuel and Iron). John worked a variety of jobs in Sunrise; he was a butcher, an auto mechanic, a core sampler, a Recording Secretary for USWA (United Steel Workers Association). John married Bessie Clarke in May 1949 and the couple later divorced. In 1963, John got a job in Sidney, Nebraska with Stickney’s Auto. During his time in Sidney, he worked part time at the theatre as a projectionist and his family was able to get into all of the movies for free. Stickney’s sent him to Torrington to work in 1966. After Stickney’s closed their doors, John worked for Valley Motor Auto Supply until he was 83 years old. John was an incredible salesman and won numerous sales awards. March 28, 2003, John married Wanda Babbitt. 

He was an avid sports fan and watched the Broncos and the Rockies often but mostly he was a Wyoming Cowboys fan. He followed the Cowboys football team to almost all of their games until he wasn’t able. John also enjoyed Cowboys basketball. He was an arrowhead hunter and collector, a stamp collector, a calligraphy artist and he enjoyed fishing and telling fishing stories.

John was a charter member of the Guernsey VFW, the American Legion, the USWA, and he was a stanch Democrat.

Survivors include his wife Wanda from Torrington; sons Louis (Barbara) Russ of Torrington and Mark (Carole) Russ of Hartville; daughter Roxanne (Rich) Thurlow of Pahrump, Nev.; sister Virginia Russ of Torrington; eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. 

Preceding him in death were his parents; sisters Eursla Soulas and Eva Hart; brother Louie Russ and three infant siblings.


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