Russell D. Brown of Park Rapids, MN, passed away on April 8, 2023, in Fargo, ND. Born March 16, 1948, to Harley and Dorothy (Knapp) Brown in Toledo, OH, he grew up outside of Sylvania, OH, and graduated from Sylvania High School. Introduced by a friend to a family with seven daughters, Russ met his sweetheart Kathleen (Billings). They married on July 12, 1969, and he and Kathy went on to have 53 years together. They raised a family in the Petersburg, MI, area while Russ worked for the postal service. A transfer to Minnesota in 1983 was the first step in their dream of owning a resort in northern Minnesota. They purchased White Pine Resort on Two Inlets Lake in 1985 and for six seasons Russ and Kathy excelled as resort owners welcoming guests from around the country to their lakeside cabins. While owning the resort, he began his career in insurance working for Aid Association for Lutherans/Thrivent and Church Mutual from which he eventually retired in 2007.
Russ had a remarkable memory for people, dates, and history. His interests in stamps and postal memorabilia evolved into a retirement hobby/business of selling vintage postcards online. He loved postcard hunting, researching, and selling. His interest in history led him to being involved with the Hubbard County Historical Society. He served as a board member, treasurer and president. He put his networking and storytelling talents to good use and worked hard fund-raising and giving tours in the museum.
An active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Park Rapids, Russ worked with the Lutheran Layman’s League and spent many years volunteering with the Vacation Bible School. Over the years, he and Kathy opened their home to three foreign exchange students. Russ enjoyed collecting stamps, coins, banks and slot machines. He had a love of travel and fishing. He adored being a grandfather, handing out $2 bills and setting up elaborate Easter Egg hunts. He was good at bragging about his grandchildren and possessed a well-known ability to talk your ear off!
Preceding Russ in death were his parents; his parents-in-law Mary and James Billings; his son-in-law Matthew Harju; and his brother-in-law Steven Johnston.
Surviving Russ are his beloved wife Kathy; his children Sharyn (Paul) Bramscher of Circle Pines, MN, Christopher (Shari) Brown of Vergas, MN, and Victoria Harju of Park Rapids, MN; his grandchildren Stefan Bramscher, Andreas Bramscher, Isaac (Grace) Brown, Jackson Brown, Peter Brown, Samuel Brown, Miles Harju, Vivian Harju, Maxwell Harju and Zachary Harju; his sisters Rebecca Brown of Toledo, OH, and Cynthia (Chris) Alt of Columbus, OH; sisters-in-law Sandy (Gary) Cole, Nancy Johnston, Diana (Don) Niemish, Laura (Rodney) Cole, Beth Hannum and Amy (Mark) Corron and numerous nieces and nephews.
Russ will be missed not only by his loved ones but by all the many people he maintained contact with throughout his life. He enjoyed meeting you and always remembered who you were.
Memorials to The Hubbard County Historical Society in Park Rapids.