Russell Vernon Salisbury
1939 – 2019
Russ favored green, but the life of this remarkable man is a portrait in full color!
Russell Vernon Salisbury was born in Great Falls on July 26, 1939 to Ralph and Verneva (Lewis) Salisbury. On February 10, 2019, he died refusing to follow the doctors’ orders, being stubborn and coloring outside the lines for nearly eight decades. Russ met death as he lived; on his own terms along the banks of the Missouri River in the golden pastures of Floweree that captivated him.
As a certified organic farmer and rancher, Russ was a pioneer in the field and a champion for the Earth way before “being green” was cool. Countless individuals and organizations turned to Russ for his progressive thinking, proven techniques, guidance and generous support. For many, it was Russ who came along with a “Hatful of Peas”.
Russ’ true color was bold! A manly man, he delighted in wearing his favorite color purple for impact. He had the courage and strength to live out the extreme beliefs and ideals that others only talk about. His commitment to his word was his deeds. “Hard work and honesty are the only two things that matter in this life”.
Russ knew the value of even the most worn down, used up crayons in the bottom of the box. He collected things others considered useless envisioning a way they could be reused, repurposed or remade; the Kaiser car converted into a shop truck for Russ’ service station, the corral constructed out of old vehicles, the converted school bus hauling cattle down the highway with their heads hanging out the windows, and so much more!
Russ scribbled brightly wide and long. The master mechanic with an artistic flare was practical yet eccentric, complex yet simple, thrifty yet generous. He struggled to express what was on his mind and in his heart, but his hands and feet spoke loudly. His strong, grease stained hands designed whimsical metal sculptures, made every machine “go”, and easily tossed 55-gallon drums. Those same hands held on ever so lightly as his fancy feet glided effortlessly and famously across the dance floor. Ladies stood in line for a twirl with Russ!
Beneath the surface of all that Russ planted in his life lays a deeply rooted, vibrantly colored legacy. Russ is survived by the land which was the love of his life; wife, Elsie Tuss; brother, Kirby (Tina) Salisbury of Belize, Central America; sons, Shane (Ann) Salisbury of Billings and Todd Salisbury of Carter; grandchildren, Damon Salisbury of Casper, WY, Cory Salisbury of Mesa, AZ, Castle and Sophia Salisbury of Billings; niece, Christie Juarez; nephew, Scott Salisbury; and a varied assortment of colorful characters.
Russ requested no service. We honor his request but cannot deny our loss and wish to remember Russ. We welcome your condolences, thoughts and memories. Please, send them to 717 Agate Avenue, Billings, MT 59105.
Dr. Seuss said it best, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
John “Bernard” Dahl, 93 of Billings died November 21, 2018 surrounded by his loving family.
Bernard was born February 28, 1925 in Rhame, North Dakota to Danish immigrant Emil and Irish homesteader Alice (Kane) Dahl.
Bernard was the youngest of five children. Bernard and his family spent his early years in Rhame and moved to Bozeman, MT in 1939. He graduated from Holy Rosary High School. He was one of four siblings that served in the US military in WWII. His gold star mother Alice christened the USS Bozeman. His brother staff sergeant Raymond was shot down over Germany and killed in 1941. His brother Eldon was a POW In Italy. Sister Mary served in the Pacific at Iwo Jima.
Dahl was a graduate of Columbia University Midshipman School in New York, New York. He was a three-year veteran of World War II, having served as a gunnery officer on the USS Tumult minesweeper in the Pacific. He was a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
After WWII, he attended Carroll College, Marquette University and Montana State. He had degrees in biology and bacteriology.
July 6, 1950, he married Mary M’Lis Eaton and moved to San Francisco for Mortuary Science college. He then returned to the family funeral business in Bozeman and had Mary, Teresa and Ann Denise. They moved to Helena and had Linda. They established Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings in 1956.
In Billings, they had their first and only son John . This was followed by Anita, Irene and Deana.
Bernard was a member of Holy Rosary Church and St Patrick’s Co-Cathedral. He was a Past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. His faith was precious to him and an example to his family and friends.
As a funeral director, he was a member of the order of the Golden Rule and National Funeral Directors Association and past president of the Montana Funeral Directors Association. He served as county coroner. He was President of the Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved.
His life’s work was compassionately caring for families in bereavement. He was on the board of hospice and brought many nationally known grief specialists to Billings. His deep care and commitment to families evolved into grief ministries including Stephen Ministries, Association of Christian Therapists and Hospice.
Bernard’s favorite hobbies included photography, travel, cooking, camping and snowmobiling.
He loved presenting slide shows on the Holy Land to churches and schools. He loved taking visitors and family out on his pontoon boat on the Big Horn.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Eldon, Vera Jensen, Raymond and Mary Jorgensen and two grandchildren Marion Rose Stroebe and Simon Dahl Reinhart.
Bernard was so grateful for his wife M’Lis, of 68 years, his eight children, 24 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren:
(1) Mary (Mike) Cater and their family: Sara (Zach) Clark and children (Maya, Nora, Caleb); Joseph (Kristen) Cater and kids (Jane, Alice, Thomas);
(2) Teresa (Conrad) Stroebe and children: Marie Taylor and kids (River, Cash); Raymond Stroebe and children (Brianna, Erica, James, Spencer); Beth (Justin) Gress and children (Lincoln, Miles); Emily (Brian) Edwards; Frank Stroebe; Marion Rose; Genevieve Burhans and child (Elise); Hannah (Travis) Hutchinson; Chalice Stroebe; and Xavier Stroebe;
(3) Ann Denise Dahl and children: Holland Davis, Jens (Bridgett) Davis and child (Porter);
(4) Linda (Dale) Reinhart and kids: Michele (Bill) Levine and children (Kate, Grace); Simon; and
(5) John (Brenda) Dahl;
(6) Anita (Reese) Jones and kids: Dan; Brielle (Earl) Platt and child (Sienna); Erin (Richard) Hall and child (Braeden); Marina; and Ula;
(7) Irene (Mark Peterson) Dahl;
(8) Deana (Dave Wendell) Dahl and children (Eileen and John).
Visitation will be held Sunday and Monday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings. A vigil service will be held at 6:00 PM on Monday, November 26, 2018, at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings. The funeral mass will be held at noon on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral.
The Graveside Committal service will be held at 11:00 AM, Wednesday at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. (Please meet at Dahl Funeral and Cremation Service in Bozeman at 10:30 AM to process together to the cemetery.)
Memorials may be made in Bernard’s name to St. Vincent De Paul, 3005 First Ave. North, Billings, MT 59101 or the Alice Kane Dahl Nursing Scholarship at Montana State University, c/o the MSU Foundation, 1501 S. 11th Ave, Bozeman, MT 59717.