Obituary: Russell W. “Russ” Jessee

March 15, 1953 - June 4, 2022
Russell W. “Russ” Jessee
Posted at 10:02 AM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 10:55:17-04

Russell W. “Russ” Jessee, 69, of Belt passed away on June 4, 2022 following a lengthy illness. Russ was born March 15, 1953 in Billings to Ollie and Lyla Jessee and attended school there, ultimately graduating from Billings Senior High in 1971. Russ loved sports, especially baseball, and excelled as a player and coach.

Russ met Kristi Tabor in February 1975 on a date arranged by friends and they were married July 5, 1975. Russ and Kristi were blessed with four children and the memories of Russ will live on through his children and friends. Russ and Kristi ultimately settled in Belt where they raised their children.

Throughout the years Russ met and mentored many individuals in the art of fly tying and fly fishing and was always looking for a good fishing story to tell, or a stream to fish. Many a day was spent traveling down Belt Creek or the Missouri throwing a line in the water just to be on the water.

Throughout his life Russ made many friends, especially through his work as a pipefitter and respiratory therapist. Even though Russ loved the medical field, he returned to pipefitting, where he had the opportunity to work on many projects still in operation today, from the power plants of Colstrip to the refineries surrounding Billings, and the dams outside of Great Falls, there are so many pieces of Montana Russ left his mark on.

Russ was a friend to many, but a father to a family he loved more than anything.

Russ’s health deteriorated in early 2022 and his only wish was to return home to be with Kristi. Russ was able to return home and be with the love of his life for his final weeks and was able to spend time with all his children and their families. The only thing Russ loved more than his wife and children were his grandkids and they will all miss their “Papa.”

Russ is survived by his wife of 47 years and his sons, Ike (Sahrita) of Belt, Casey (Alyssa) of Helena, and Bailey (Taylor) of Casper, Wyoming, his 6 adoring grandchildren, and his brothers and sister spread throughout the country.

Russ was preceded in death by his parents and a daughter, Rachel Rose. Cremation has taken place. Russ did not desire any services, so a family memorial is planned at a later date.

The family would like to thank Peace Hospice of Great Falls for their care and attention for Russ. Without their assistance, the days Russ had at home would not have been as peaceful.

There is no losing in fishing. You either catch or you learn. Either way, it’s better than the best day at work!