Russell L. Wicklund (Sawdust/Dusty/Chief) was born on January 19, 1942 in rural Strathcona, Minnesota, the ninth child of Eric O. Wicklund and Alma (Rud) Wicklund. Little did he know, his bride to be was also being born on the same day in Strandquist along with her twin sister, Kathryn.
Russell grew up in Strathcona until 1955 when the family moved into Greenbush. He graduated from Greenbush High School in 1960. He attended Dunwoody College of Technology for a semester and also the University of North Dakota for a semester. He began building houses with his father in 1955 and took over Wicklund Construction in 1964. He was a hard worker and a perfectionist. Russell took great pride in his craftsmanship as demonstrated in every home he built. Russell was working on homes until May of 2015 when cancer forced him to retire.
On October 19, 1963, Russell married Kathleen E. Veselka at Blessed Sacrament Church in Greenbush. To say that he adored his wife does not begin to describe their bond over 56 years of marriage. They were blessed with three children Russell, James and Kristi. Russell also adored his children, and even though he could be quite tough at times, he was only trying to encourage his children to be the best they could be, and instilled in them the principle if you’re going to do something, do it well or don’t bother to do it at all.
Russell was very active in his community of Greenbush. He served on the Greenbush Volunteer Fire Department for 45 years (1961-2006), 24 of those years as Chief (1979-2003). In his later years he was a member of the Lions Club. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus at Blessed Sacrament Church and was the contractor on the remodel of the church in 1987. Russell also enjoyed shaking dice for coffee at the café and visiting with friends and community members. Over the years, he has lent a kind ear to many people who needed to talk or just his smile.
Russell enjoyed hunting, fishing, and being outdoors. He hunted mule deer in South Dakota, elk in Montana, and moose in Alaska. But his favorite place to hunt was in Minnesota for white tail deer. First near Strathcona with his father Eric and his brothers, then in Juneberry Township at his A-frame cabin that he built with Jacob Mooney in 1973. This was his getaway place to play with tractors and to hunt with his gang. He hunted and cooked at the cabin for 38 years.
Russell passed away on May 17, 2020, at his home in Greenbush surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife Kathleen of Greenbush, son Russell S. Wicklund (Lisa Branden Wicklund) of Forest Lake, MN, son James L. Wicklund (Melony Stauffenecker Wicklund) of Moorhead, MN and daughter Kristi A. Bergstrom (Rick Bergstrom) of Roseau, MN. Grandchildren Russell C. Wicklund of Forest Lake, MN, Luc Wicklund of Fort Collins, CO, Eric Wicklund of Moorhead, MN, Isaac Wicklund of Moorhead, MN, Parker Kvien (fiancé Allison Overby) of Roseau, MN, Kalleen Kvien of Minneapolis, MN, Pierce Kvien of Fargo, ND and Charles Bergstrom of Roseau, MN. He is also survived by sister Ione Krause, brothers Nels Wicklund (Cleone) and Ervin Wicklund (Ione) all of Auburn, WA, sisters-in-law Doris Wicklund of Greenbush, MN, Margaret Small of Sarasota, FL, Kathryn Hoglund of Chelan, WA, Loretta Grochowski of Strandquist, MN, brothers-in-law David Hyllengren of Palm Springs, CA, Clarence Veselka (Dorothy) and Richard Veselka (Veronica) both of Fort Myers, FL, Daniel Veselka (Bonny Jo) of Angus, MN and many nieces and nephews.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Lloyd, Donald and Ferdie, sisters Loreen Sovde, Juliette Larson Nelson and Sandra Hyllengren; brothers-in-law Lyle Sovde, ElKay Larson, Donald Nelson, Tom Krause, Ray Grochowski, Laddie Barr, Donald Veselka, Howard Hoglund, and sisters-in-law Mildred Nelson and Margie Barr, nephew Jeff Larson and niece Holly Wicklund.
A private memorial for Russell will be held in the Fall of 2020, when his ashes will be spread on the hunting land where he found peace.