Passing of Pat Russell

Pat was born Nov. 30, 1947 in San Diego. He attended elementary school in Campo and Ramona. He then attended high school in Ramona and Riverside, graduating in 1965.

Pat began his career with CDF in June of 1965, as a FFI when he was 17 years old. He made $345 a month (before taxes) and worked 120 hrs. per week. He took and passed the FFTD (Engineers) test 4 days after turning 18 in Dec. 1965. His First Ranger 1 was Slim Carlson, his first Foremen were Lee Sherman and Chuck Howell and his first FFTD’s were Taylor Stevens and Jim Van Meter.

He promoted to FFTD in April 1966 and was assigned to Grossmont/Mt. Helix Station until late summer when he transferred to the Valley Center Battalion. He made $485 a month in the winter for a 40-hour work week and $515 during Fire Season for 96 hours.

While working in Orange County in 1968 Pat was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent 14 months in Vietnam. He was discharged in 1970.

He returned to Orange County and was later transferred to San Diego where he was assigned to the Monte Vista Battalion/Lyons Valley Station.

While working at Monte Vista HQ, he met his future wife Sue, Finance Clerk at Monte Vista, at the Retirement Party for Bart and Grace Myers. They were married the following year. After obtaining permission from County Ranger John Morrow, Battalion Chief Bob Taylor, and Station Captain Charlie Griggs, the ceremony took place on the lawn between the Office and the Station Mess Hall, (and for OB’s benefit) under the Mimosa Tree. The Best Man was Captain Dennis O’Brien and the Maid of Honor was Linda Baker, the Steno Clerk in Prevention. The next 3 years saw a family move to Temecula and the birth of his 2 daughters in 1976 and 1977.

Pat was transferred to the Valley Center Battalion in 1978 and promoted to Fire Captain A in Orange County in 1979. He stayed there until the Orange County Schedule A contract ended in the early 80’s.

He returned to Valley Center FFS and was the first Captain at the Valley Center Fire Protection District in San Diego. He transferred to the Ramona Battalion in the late 80’s and promoted to Fire Captain B in the mid 90’s where he was assigned to La Cima CC, which at that time was a training facility for the California Conservation Corp.

Pat was very active in the CA Dept. of Forestry Employees Association/ Cal Fire Local 2881 holding numerous positions within the San Diego Chapter throughout the 80’s and was a member of the Statewide Bargaining Team from 1993 to 1999. He retired in January 2000.

Pat became a member of the CDF 25-Year Club in 1993 and was President in 2007-2008. Pat and Sue were also members of the CDF Wagon Train and Pat was Wagon Master from 2006-2008.

After retirement, RVing and RZR riding with family and friends and attending Wagon Train Campouts became his passions and he and Sue traveled extensively throughout the U.S., traveling to the Atlantic Coast 3 times. Some of their most memorable trips were with fellow CDFrs.

Pat is survived by his wife of 41 years, Sue, 2 Daughters Colleen Tschumperlin and husband Bron, and Jennifer Murphy and husband Riley. He also leaves four grandchildren, Jason (19), Kyle (18), Reagan (8), and Redding (6) along with his father Donal, all of Ramona, 3 brothers Daniel (Sharon) of Santa Rosa, Donal (Lisa) of Capistrano Beach and Karl (Kathy) of Redmond, OR. also several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Patricia.

A celebration of Patrick’s life will be held on April 16th in Ramona. For directions and/or more information, contact Jeanie O’Brien at 760-533-3969.

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