My brother and best friend died on July 8, 2016. He was 57.
Russ died on a Friday night while I was at work and feeling that something wasn’t right. I knew he was sick—he’d been battling cancer for several years and was growing weaker by the day. His cancer had reached stage 4. I received the phone call the next day and wept. I was glad to know he no longer suffered, but I wept because I felt alone. We’d done so much together. Now he was gone.
Russ was born in a small town called Union City in Pennsylvania, on November 29, 1958. He was 21 months younger than his big brother Steve who, according to their mother, gave Russ all his toys the day Mom brought him home from the hospital. It didn’t take long for the two of them to become best friends. The rest is family legend.
Russ married when he was 17 and remained married to his wife for 40 years. During that time, he served in the United States Navy alongside his big brother for a while, raised an awesome daughter and awesome son, was an avid hunter, collected coins and knives, and loved the Pittsburgh Steelers, which began in 1971 after he and I watched the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series and wondered “Now what?”
This has been a small glimpse of my brother’s life. Of course, telling it all would fill volumes of books. Perhaps I will, someday, tell more about him, one chapter at a time.
Rest in peace, dear brother. November 29, 1958—July 8, 2016.
The old homestead has needed a sprucing for many years. Fresh paint or siding? That was the question while the roof was finally shingled last year during October. The powers that be decided to go with siding this spring. But May was too cold and wet with snow and rain for such a big project. June’s weather has been kinder, so work began straight away.
Complications arose, of course, which extended the project. But today, at last, the place is dressed in her new clothes.