Russell Alfred Stanley
Russell Alfred Stanley

February 9, 1925 - March 17, 2017
Resided in Aurora, CO
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Obituary

Russell Alfred Stanley, our dad, passed away peacefully in his sleep March 17, 2017 at Shalom Cares, Aurora, CO. He was 92. Born in Wichita to Verne and Shelley Stanley, the family move to Cunningham, KS when Dad was young. Russell or Rutt as his family and friends called him, moved to Cunningham with his five siblings when he was a boy. Living on a farm and growing up in a small community gave Russell a strong work ethic. Verne and Shelley were active in the community, volunteering in the family church, as a member of the school board, and active in the Republican Party. Their interests taught Dad the importance of community and civic responsibility. His bond to Cunningham remained to his death.

His parents believed that a good education was the means to a better life, to that end, all the Stanley children went to college, even the girls, unheard of in the day. When Charlie, a school friend, lost his father to an accident in the oil fields and he faced the possibility of having to drop out of school to help support the family, Verne and Shelley opened their home. Charlie and Dad remained friends all their lives, some 70 plus years. This generosity, kindness, and strong family values was the lens through which Dad gaged his actions and words throughout his long life.

When WWII broke out, Dad volunteered for the Army Air Corps. Flying B-24s, in the Asia Arena, the farm boy from Eastern Kansas became a world traveler. When his tour ended, he enrolled at KU where he studied English Literature and law. Now married to his soul mate, JoElla MacDonald of Waco TX with one child, Roxanne born, Dad's work ethic and sense of responsibility to family helped him finish school on time while working part time at the military surplus store. There are photos of Dad sitting at the kitchen table studying, Roxanne balanced on his knee, determination and focus in support of family evident.

Upon graduation, he reenlisted in the Air Force where he stayed for over 30 years. The family grew to include three more children, Greg, Shelley and Bruce. We lived all over the world and the United States, countries similar to American culture and several completely different. Dad never dwelt on the differences between people. Color, language, religion, culture were to be explored, celebrated. In doing so, the world got larger, more interesting, and humanity closer. Russell delighted in learning and growing his entire life. His inclusive and inquisitive nature is now practiced by his children and grandchildren, our lives are enriched as a result.

Central themes developed during the children's formative years, continued through to the grandchildren. Dad believed anything on a cracker was delicious, playing Sleepy Giant, Bucking Bronco, and Riga Majiga – a number guessing game that had the guesser bouncing up and down at every heal lift while draped across Dad's lap. Family outings where we frequently got lost and mom had to ask for directions, reading together, and singing cowboys song. Family get togethers always featured fried chicken and potato salad in the summer and pot roast or soup in the winter and wine and beer no matter the season.

When Dad retired from the Air Force in 1977, he decided to try a new career in construction. Dad did not inherit the handyman gene; his brother Bill did. Having given construction the old college try, Dad went back to work as a maritime attorney for the federal government in the San Francisco Bay area. Missing Colorado, Mom and Dad moved back to Aurora where he began working for the state of Colorado at what was to become Pinnacol Insurance. Dad retired for his third, and final time from Pinnacol. Living 40 plus years in the same house in Aurora, the senior Stanley's developed many close friends. Neighbors with shared experiences in the military, who helped each other out when times got tough or a need met. Close and deep friendships developed, friendships that lasted a lifetime.

In retirement, Dad volunteered as a math tutor for adults earning their GED, as an assistant for adult ESL classes at the United Methodist Church, and regularly visited shut ins at a local nursing home. He also enjoyed walking Foxie, his beloved corgi, drinking wine, and partaking of a meal with friends and family. Playing cards or Mexican Train after a family meal became a weekly tradition at the senior Stanley home, "kids" and grandkids joining in on the fun. Dad had a well developed sense of humor. One of his favorite saying was, "Always take your work seriously but never yourself. Life is too hard if you cannot laugh at yourself." sound advice indeed.

Russell Stanley left a legacy beyond measure. His values remain in this world through his children and grandchildren. They don't make 'em like Dad anymore. His family loved him deeply. The world was brighter when he was in it.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017, 10 a.m. at Shalom Park in the Community Room, 14800 E. Belleview Dr., Aurora, CO 80015, followed by a reception with a light lunch that all are invited to. In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation be made to KU Law School at http://law.ku.edu, scroll to the bottom of the page and select Make a Gift on the RH side of the page or by USPS at: University of Kansas Law School, Green Hall 1, 1535 W. 15th Street, Lawrence, KS 66045 or to the Cunningham Public Library, 105 N. Main, Cunningham, KS 60735.

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Reception Following Service
Shalom Park
14800 East Belleview Drive
Aurora, CO 80015
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Memorial Service
Shalom Park
14800 East Belleview Drive
Aurora, CO 80015
Thursday, April 6, 2017
10:00 AM
Ft. Logan Service
Fort Logan National Cemetery
3250 East 6th Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
Friday, April 7, 2017
10:30 AM
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