RUSSELL, Fergus Tom

Posted: June 17th, 2022

FERGUS TOM RUSSELL, of Coaldale, passed away peacefully at Sunny South Lodge on Friday, June 10, 2022 at the age of 89 years.


Fergus is survived by his children, Duncan (Loretta) Russell of Edmonton, Heather Russell of Strathmore, Ian (Tanya) Russell of Skiff, as well as three grandchildren, Kenn Anderson, Kourt Russell and Ty Russell. He is also survived by his sister, Ena (Bill) Craik of Lethbridge, his brother, George Russell of Milk River and numerous nieces and nephews.


He was predeceased by Charlotte, his loving wife of 56 yers. He was also predeceased by his parents, George and Margaret Russell, his brothers, Charlie and Roy Russell and his sisters, Elsie Halmrast and Margaret Gowlland.


Fergus was born in Picture Butte in 1933. Three years later, the Russell family moved to the Masinasin District near Milk River where they farmed and the children attended school. Fergus wasn’t much for book learning and left school after completing Grade 8 to work at several different jobs. In the spring of 1953, at the age of 20, he rented a section and a quarter of land and moved to Skiff to start farming. He later purchased the farm in 1961.


Fergus enjoyed living in Skiff as he found the people friendly. He quickly made friends with his neighbours who often has him over for meals as he was “baching” on the farm. Skiff soon became home to Fergus and, in 1958, he went into partnership with his brother, George, and Ed Lonsdale to purchase the Skiff Service Garage. Ed also owned Smith Motors in Lethbridge and just happened to employ a secretary named Charlotte Karp. Fergus met her, and on March 10, 1962, the couple was married.


Their first home was a house Fergus moved himself, across the river north of Coutts and into the hamlet of Skiff. They lived there for seven years until 1968 when they moved into a new house on the farm. They farmed, made their home and raised their family there until they retired to Coaldale in 2007.


Fergus had a talent for fixing almost anything and enjoyed spending time in his well-equipped shops. It was a family joke to say Fergus would spend three days building a machine to do an hour’s work. He also never threw anything away and neighbours in Skiff and Coaldale would drop by to see if he had a part of piece or metal that was needed.


The farm was always busy as Fergus raised cereal crops and had cattle. Family and friends often gathered to pour cement for new buildings or brand calves. Fergus also served on the Chin Coulee Gas Co-op for many years, several as chairman. Upon his retirement, he was presented with a gold watch in honour of his years of service.


Family and community were important to Fergus so leisure time included family picnics at Chin Lake and Writing-On-Stone, community potluck suppers and family holiday celebrations.


Fergus loved old-time music and dancing. Sunday morning breakfasts were often accompanied by an Old-Time music program aired on CJOC radio, much to the dismay of the kids. Fergus and Charlotte were members of the Pemmican Club for many years and brought in numerous new years by dancing into the wee hours of the morning and then driving home in a blizzard.


Fergus was a devoted husband, loving father, loyal friend, and a farmer. Rest in peace, your legacy lives on.


A Private Family Service will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2825 – 32 St. S, Lethbridge, on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 2 p.m.


While the in-person gathering is private, friends are welcome to attend via livestream on Cornerstone’s website by accessing Fergus’s obituary.


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One Condolence for “RUSSELL, Fergus Tom”

  1. Rhonda Huisman says:

    Duncan I have always had very fond thoughts of your family and our days growing up in Foremost. Heartfelt condolences with the loss of your Dad ❤

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