Russell V. Verbael, LtCol, USMC retired, passed away on September 13, 2021, in Yuma, Arizona. He was born in Great Falls, MT on December 1, 1940, to Theodore Verbael and Mabel Johnson. He lived in Dutton, MT, all his growing years, graduated from Dutton, then graduated from Northern Montana College in Havre, MT.
Following graduation, Russ was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Marine Corps, went to basic training in Quantico, VA, and then since he qualified, went to Pensacola, FL for flight training. After attaining his Wings he was assigned to HMM-165, the first CH-46 helicopter squadron, in Santa Ana, CA. This led to him going to the Vietnam War. He was shot down once, but thankfully made it back home after 13 months. Then he went again in 1970, this time flying OV-10s.
Russ married Stella Matz in 1961 in Havre, MT and over the next six years became the father of three sons, Keith, Rick, and Mark. After Vietnam, he was assigned to New River Air Station in Jacksonville, NC in the OV-10 squadron. He was then assigned to Marine Corp Air Station, Santa Ana. During this time, he transferred back into helicopters, and was given Command of HMM-268 for a year. At the time of his retirement, he was the Base Operations Officer.
In the fall of 1989, Russ moved back to Dutton, MT. He soon found himself involved in his own old car business, Montana Collector Cars. Once again, he loved what he was doing and was successful at buying, repairing, and selling cars. With his love for airplanes, he soon became involved with the EAA and owning his own plane, a RV-4.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Stella; son, Mark of Cut Bank; daughter, Cynthia (Clark) LeDoux of Fort Worth, TX; grandsons, Kevin, Garrett, Chase, Patton, and Lester; and several nieces and nephews. To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.