Russell Black

Russell Holman Black passed away, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in his home in Troutdale, Ore., surrounded by his family while watching a Seattle Mariners game. Russell was 82 years old. 

Russell was born to Vera and Gale Black in Malta, Mont., in 1938 to a large farming and ranching family. His siblings are Richard Black, Steve Black, Danzel Neely and Jaynce Strobel.

Russell had many great stories of raising cattle and being in the rodeo. In high school, he excelled with his interest and talent in basketball. 

After graduating from Malta High School, Russell joined the National Guard and went on to Western Montana University in Dillon, Mont., to study Business and Education. At Western, Russell continued his basketball career. In 1958, his basketball team won the NAIA Championships in Kansas City. 

While attending Western, Russell met his wife, Janice Provis. After graduating, Russell worked for the Montana State Highway Department for several years. Russell and Janice then moved to Cut Bank, Mont., to begin 20 years of teaching high school business and coaching girls and boy’s basketball. While in Cut Bank, Russell and Janice also raised two children, Russ and Amber.

Russell retired from teaching in 1989 and moved with the family to Portland, Ore. Russell and Janice were able to enjoy retirement as snowbirds, traveling in their RV to the southwest enjoying Zion, Mesa, Walnut Canyon and attending baseball spring training Mariners games as much as possible. 

He is survived by his wife Janice, married for 56 years; his two children, Russell and Amber; and three grandchildren, Morgan, Maia and Alex. 

Russell was known for his kindness, sense of humor and his ability to fix or build anything. Russell was many things, a talented woodworker, a devoted husband, father, grandfather. Russell loved finding the connection and humor with everyone. He would always find a person in a crowd to engage in conversation with about any topic. He touched many people’s lives. 

In Russell’s memory, the family asks for anyone interested to make a donation to the St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Also, turn up his favorite song, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong and remember the joy he would bring to a room.