Russell Lewis Winans, 88, of Park Rapids, passed away on June 2, 2020. He was born in Princeton, MN on April 20, 1932, the oldest of four boys to William and Theresa (Lambert) Winans.
Russell graduated from Princeton High School in 1950. At age 17, during his senior year of High School, he enlisted in the Army National Guard. On June 25th, 1950, North Korea, backed by China and the Soviet Union, launched an invasion into South Korea. The National Guard was called to join the US Army Reserves and Russ spent 10 months in the Korean combat zone before his eventual honorable discharge from the Army in August 1952.
After returning home Russ moved to Minneapolis and began driving a bread route for Bambi Bread. It was there that he met Jean Doris Schwanz, a Frazee, MN native who was a student at the College of Medical Technology. Russ and Jean were married in November 1953 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Princeton. Shortly after marriage, he began a career with the United States Postal Service where he held positions in St Paul and Circle Pines. In 1960, after 7 years of living in Circle Pines, Russ and Jean settled in rural Isanti, MN where they ran a small farm and raised three children. He became a USPS Rural Letter Carrier running routes in Dalbo and Stanchfield, MN for many years. During his time in Isanti County, he served as Clerk on the Township board and also as a Building Inspector. He interrupted his USPS career for 7 years during the 1980s when he worked as an Office Manager for two medical clinics in Michigan. Returning to Minnesota, Russ rejoined the USPS and worked until his retirement in 1992 at offices in Fridley and Columbia Heights. Still feeling the need to keep busy, Russ then worked for Avis Rental Cars from 1992 through 1999 while residing in Blaine.
In 1999, Russ and Jean built a retirement home on Brush Lake in rural Park Rapids on land they had owned since 1976. They had many cherished friends in the Park Rapids area that made their retirement years very fulfilling. Russ especially enjoyed traveling throughout the area on business with his dear friend Rick Knoblach, who also made sure that he got a great deer stand to hunt in every November. Russ was an active member of the Headwaters Ducks Unlimited chapter and was proud to be the oldest surviving veteran member of the North Country Friends of the NRA.
In 2018, Russ and Jean moved into the Heritage Community apartments in Park Rapids where he resided until his death. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Michael. He is survived by his wife, Jean, his children; Colleen, David, and Barb, his grandchildren; Nick, Andrea, Eric, Seri, Emily, and Matthew, and his great-grandchildren; Preston, Landon, Harper, and Lucy. Russell was known for his witty expressions, fondly called ‘Russisms,’ which will be carried on to future generations. He was a wonderful and caring father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and will forever remain in our hearts.