American Veteran 09

Russell "Russ" William Wyand

March 16, 1942 ~ August 31, 2021 (age 79)


Russell William Wyand, the third child of Barbara Alice Leatherman Wyand and Clyde Edward Wyand, Sr. was born at the Newman Memorial Hospital in Shattuck, Oklahoma.  He passed with his immediate family by his side in Norman, Oklahoma, on August 31, 2021. Russell was laid to rest in the Laverne Cemetery on October 2, 2021.  Reverend Stephen Hale officiated.

Russ married Donna Elaine Burris from Chatham, New Jersey, on February 28, 1970. Their union was the result of friends that believed they were a great match. Their blind date lasted for 51 years of marriage, producing two loving, responsible adults, Jennifer Lynn and Jon Russell, as well as two grandsons, Landry Michael and Zachary Wyand Barnett. 

Jennifer graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and is a registered pharmacist.  She won a national award for her contributions to the profession of pharmacy and serving her community.  In addition, she now owns a health care business in the Ft. Worth area. 

Russ was Jennifer’s biggest role model and cheerleader.  A caring heart was clearly a trait she received from her Dad.  One of Jennifer’s greatest memories was seeing Russ hiding in the trees during her golf tournaments.  He’d be so upset over her missed shots he couldn’t stand it, so he’d hide!  Russ was always there to remind Jennifer not to cry; and when she did, he was right there with a shoulder to cry on. 

Jennifer gave Russ two amazing grandsons, Landry and Zachary.  Landry is a junior at the Oklahoma University majoring in Aerospace Engineering, and Zac is a freshman at Oklahoma State University majoring in Civil Engineering.  

These young men were the pride of Papa’s life.  He was able to visit them regularly, watch them in their activities and camps of football and golf, and hauled them around North America in his motorhome,  including four road trips to Alaska.  Zac was the designated co-pilot in charge of planning the route while Landry, at the back window, was making gestures at cars passing by.  The three of them loved to laugh and cut up together.

Jon’s career opportunities across Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, California, and Alaska provided countless road trip adventures for his parents to visit.  They shared many wonderful experiences together including touring the national parks in their RV, watching dog sleds race by during the Iditarod, and experiencing the beauty of Augusta at the Masters the year Tiger won his slam.  Riding jeep trails high in the mountains during crisp fall days were some of their favorite times spent together.  Russ, Jon, and Grandad Clyde spent many a day on the golf course - sometimes playing for fun and other times as teammates or competitors.  Russ was the ultimate clutch putter, especially when he was on the other team.

Russell’s character, integrity, compassion, and sense of service were shaped in the community of Laverne, where he spent most of his life.  Russell was a good Christian man.  His family and education at Laverne Schools were instrumental in helping to teach him the differences between right and wrong.  Russell and many friends learned these lessons on and off the football field with Coach Earl Kilmer. 

Russell was a selfless individual that was always willing to volunteer to help others, whether he was farming, coaching Little League games, working on the railroad laying ties, or helping to build the Laverne Golf Course. Russell had a passion for the game of golf that he shared with his friends and family.  He taught his children and grandsons the game of golf and followed all of them to camps and tournaments around the country.

Russell attended the University of Oklahoma after high school graduation, then transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, where he is said to have majored in golf.  He eventually graduated with a degree in mathematics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

Russell’s choice to teach math or enlist in the United State Marine Corps was an easy decision for him.  He felt an obligation to defend his country and the rights of others. His enlistment began in August 1966 when he was sent to Camp Pendleton and then to Fort Sill to become an officer, specializing in artillery.  His training continued at Quantico, Virginia, and then on to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. 

Russell’s deployment was from February 1968 to February 1969.  He was stationed along the DMZ from Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Camp Carroll, and Vandergrift Combat Battalion. His entrance into Vietnam  began at the same time as the Tet Offensive.  He left the field from the fire base in the northern Ashau Valley. Russell was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines, and 3rd Division.  He was then sent to 9th Marines as forward observer with E 2/9, then as an Artillery Liason officer for the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines. The last four months of Russ’s tour, he was assigned to 9th Marine Regiment as assistant fire support coordinator.  

In Vietnam, Russell lost three of his radio operators, whose service and sacrifices he never forgot.   Papa shared the loss of his radio operators--LCPL Martin Milek,  LCPL Russell Wendler, and CPL Donald Kujawa--with his oldest grandson, Landry, shortly before he passed away.  Over the last fifty years, Russell often shared the grief and responsibility he felt for the loss of his fellow Marines.

On July 13, 1973, Russ was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a Captain.  He received the Navy Medal of Commendation for his service.  Additionally, Russ was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal, and the Vietnamese Campaign Medals.  These experiences and personal sacrifices made him the man he became:  a man of honor, truth, a man of his word, sacrifice, bravery, and compassion - Semper Fi.

In 1970, after Russ’s active service, he went to work as a cashier for a family friend and a man who he greatly admired, Max Robertson, at the First National Bank of Follett, Texas.  Russ remained in Follett until February 1, 1975.  He always wanted to help others, whether it was to aid someone who was struggling to get by, or to help someone realize their dreams.  Russ extended equal opportunity and trust to everyone. 

In 1975, Russ moved his family of four to Laverne to begin his employment with the First National Bank of Laverne.  He remained with the bank until April of 2007 at which time he retired, but remained on the Board of Directors until it sold to the Security State Bank in September 2020.  The cherished friendships Russ made with customers and fellow employees speak of his genuine character.  He was the ornery bald guy with the big smile, blue eyes and long, beautiful eyelashes. His compassion for his fellow man made him very successful in the community and in life.  

Taking care of his family was his top priority.  Russell was always present at his children’s activities--whether it was coaching Little League, helping with 4-H projects, cheerleading, or being in the upper right corner of the Kilmer Stadium where he blasted a bullhorn at football games until he was made to quit. He was a supporter of everyone.  Russell was always there to offer encouragement, patience, and understanding.    

Russ loved spending time with his family at their cabin in Eagle Nest, New Mexico.  He cherished the time spent with family and friends around the campfires, riding four wheelers, fishing, and cruising the pontoon boat around the lake. 

He loved history, reading, visiting with friends and neighbors, scenic drives, and napping.  Russell loved to “tinker” on projects with his son and grandsons.  The grandsons freely accepted Papa’s advice offered to them.  Russell cherished the fact that the grandsons wanted their grandparents as an active part of their lives, and they have grown to be such caring people.

After forty years in the banking industry, serving on boards and committees, and helping other service organizations, Russell decided to take time for himself and his family.  He and his wife began travelling this beautiful country.  Many of his summers were spent at his cabin in the mountains.  New friends and adventures highlighted this chapter of his life.

Russ will be remembered as a kind, approachable, thoughtful, and warm man. He made our world a better place in which to live.  He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and community.

His daughter wrote on Facebook the evening of Russ’s passing, “Heaven gained another angel today.  Thank you, Dad, for being the best Dad and Papa ever!  Your smile, sense of humor, giving heart, and never ending love will never be forgotten.  It didn’t matter when or what we needed, you were always there. . .a piece of us will always be missing, Dad.  Thanks for the lifetime of amazing memories and helping to shape us into the people we are today.  Until we meet again.  We love you, Dad!” 

Russell William Wyand is survived by his wife, Donna Wyand;  daughter, Jennifer Barnett; son, Jon Wyand; grandsons, Landry Michael and Zachary Wyand Barnett;  his older brothers, Clyde Edward Wyand, Jr. married to Wanda;  Dr. Anthony James Wyand, husband of Kathy; and brother-in-law, Hubert Ernest Baldwin; an aunt, Betty Freed of Houston; and a sister-in-law, Barbara Burris Hall of Harrisonburg, Virginia.  

Uncle Russ was adored by nieces and nephews and their spouses: Lynn Wyand Whisenhunt, James Russell Wyand (Little Russ), Teri Wyand Haffner and Greg, Susan Wyand Evans and Matt, Wendy Wyand Imes, Sally Baldwin Trippet and Todd, Taylor Jake Wyand and Marni, Stuart Evan Baldwin and Laurie, Debi Rhodes and Talley, and Faron Pugh.

Cousins include:  Jan Leist Enger and husband Von, Sherre Mawhirter and husband Brent, Alan Burkhart, George Leist and wife Linda, Roxie Davis Elmore, Paula Davis Barby and husband Allen, and Brenda Davis.

Russ was preceded in death by his grandparents, Russell S. and Doris Wyand; his parents, Clyde and Barbara Wyand; sister, Jane Alene Wyand Baldwin; a niece, Amy Baldwin; his in-laws, Van and Audrey Burris; and a brother-in-law, Charles Wilson Burris.

Within this last year, Russ lost his three girls - Maggie, Daisy, and Sophie.  Man’s best friends were lucky enough to ride with Russ in the pickup each morning.  They were a special part of his life. Their love and friendship meant the world to him.

While travelling a few years ago, Russell purchased a plaque which stated: “Family - Like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.” He respected and gave each of us what we needed.  His love was never ending.

Russell’s smile, sense of humor, and beautiful soul will always be in our hearts.   We will cherish the wonderful memories of our dear husband, father, Papa, and friend as he was an example to follow.  Each day is a gift from God.  Enjoy your life; Russell William Wyand did!

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Graveside Inurnment Service Laverne Cemetery
October 2, 2021

11:00 AM

Laverne American Legion Post 273
October 2, 2021

11:30 AM

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