Russell David Coombs was born on July 28, 1956, to Russell Wallace Coombs and Lena Marie Cotugno Coombs in Chicago, Illinois. He was the first born and the only son. He died on October 20, 2023, of complications related to Parkinson’s Disease.
As a young boy, Russ began working at the age of 12 to help support his family. He had two paper routes and augmented his income by selling life insurance policies door to door. This was the beginning of his strong work ethic that continued throughout his lifetime. As a 1974 graduate of Romeoville High School in Romeoville, Illinois, (just down the road from Joliet, as he would describe it), Russ went directly to work in the art and design industry.
Russ loved music, art, travel and family. He loved adventure. He enjoyed meeting people, hearing their stories and creating his own through travel experiences. In his early twenties, he went on an extended solo “Chautauqua '' throughout Mexico and Central America. This experience was one that provided many stories throughout the years, from sleeping on beaches and on empty hospital gurneys to describing the interesting people he met along the way. After his return home to Chicago, he accepted a job in Cody, Wyoming as an illustrator for an aviation airframe power and maintenance manual company. It was in Wyoming that he completed an Associate of Science degree at Northwest College in Powell and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming in Laramie in 1989. His internship experience in college led to his first job after graduation in New Orleans, Louisiana with ConocoPhillips working off the Gulf Coast on the oil rigs.
Career moves to Utah, Michigan and Washington followed. He took great pride in his work with Honeywell Aerospace and the related contract work with Airbus and Boeing. Honeywell invested in Russ by providing him the opportunity to become a certified Master Black Belt in Lean/Six Sigma. He applied and taught lean manufacturing and process improvement principles and methods throughout the company. Honeywell continued their investment in Russ. The company sponsored his enrollment in the Executive Master of Business Administration program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He graduated in 2006.
After his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, Russ continued to work for several years, teaching individuals Lean and Six Sigma principles and practices and consulting with companies and educational institutions regarding the application of said practices. He worked both domestically and abroad.
He was committed to connecting with others within the Parkinson’s community and to making a difference. He was one of the inaugural participants of the Rock Steady Boxing classes at Lutheran Life Villages in Fort Wayne, Indiana; he participated in a national clinical trial for Parkinson’s that has FDA approval pending for Spring 2024; and has been an active member of the Claremore, Oklahoma Parkinson’s Support Group. He had a sincere desire to increase the awareness and support for developing a cure for Parkinson’s and to help expand the resources available to those individuals with Parkinson’s, specifically having Rock Steady Boxing classes in Claremore.
Throughout his life, Russ loved gatherings of all kinds with family and friends. He valued the time to relive shared experiences; reconnect on what was happening in others’ lives; and sometimes take an opportunity to discuss the current social and political issues of the day. However, if these gatherings included sunsets, lasagna, smoothies, and/or chocolate chip cookies, they were all the better.
(His grandsons have nicknamed him “Grandpa Cookie Monster”). He was kind, funny and intelligent. He was a good man.
Russ is survived by his wife. Jerrilee Mosier of Claremore, OK; his son, David Cameron Coombs (Kelsee) and his grandsons. Cameron and James Coombs of Idaho Fall, ID; his sisters, Carol Callies (Tom) of Warrenton, VA and Amy Feeley (Mike) of Phoenix, AZ; mother and father-in-law, Mary and Richard Mosier, Claremore, OK; brother in laws, Greg Mosier, Reno, NV, Rick (Teresa) Mosier; Doug Mosier; Roger (Vicki) Mosier, all of Claremore OK and numerous nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
Russ loved and he was loved back by many!
Services will be held on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, at 11:00 at the First Presbyterian Church, 102 East 4th Street, Claremore. OK
Graveside Services will be on Monday, November 6th, 2023, at 11:00 at the Hoxie Cemetery, Hoxie, Kansas.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to the Michael J Fox Foundation to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Russ’ Tribute Page link: https://tribute.michaeljfox.org/tribute-page.php?id=2730 And/or to the Russ Coombs Memorial Fund of Claremore, OK. Checks should be made out to the City of Claremore Recreation Center in Support of Parkinson’s Resources/ Russ Coombs Memorial Fund
and addressed to City of Claremore, 104 South Muskogee Avenue
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017