Roger Stanley Russell, age 77, of Eugene, OR, died July 6, 2021, due to Glioblastoma, with his family by his side.
Roger was born on May 4, 1944, in Washington, D. C. to Dan and Burnette (Lee) Russell while his father was stationed there in the U.S. Navy. He grew up in Scotts Valley, OR just south of Cottage Grove, and graduated from Yoncalla High School in 1962 as Salutatorian. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy with the intent to become a pilot. Although his 6’5” stature ultimately prevented him from pilot selection, he graduated with honors from the U.S. Navy Tactical Data Systems school at Mare Island. Roger served 2 tours in Vietnam based on the USS Long Beach, and was shot down once while transporting computer equipment.
Roger never did just one thing at a time. While in the Navy he also took college correspondence courses in order to more expediently complete degree requirements. After being honorably discharged from the Navy three months shy of his six years, he attended the University of Southern California for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees, earning a Bachelor of Science (graduating Magna Cum Laude) and a Master of Business Administration. True to his industrious nature, he simultaneously worked full time in real estate and went on to become a real estate broker and vice president with the Heritage Group in Beverly Hills.
After graduation, Roger moved to Eugene, OR. Roger became co-owner with his brother-in-law and sister at Grove Realty in Cottage Grove, OR. At the same time, he and his brother-in-law and a friend built and owned Pinocchio’s Pizza in Cottage Grove, OR.
Roger was very involved in the Cottage Grove community in other ways. In 1978, he was one of the founders and served on the Board of Directors of the Cottage Grove Bank, which later merged with Umpqua Bank. He also served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Cottage Grove Community Foundation, the Cottage Grove Hospital Foundation, the Cottage Grove Lions Club, the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce, among others. He also started Westwood Mortgage Co. Roger was especially integral in bringing the PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Hospital to Cottage Grove. He was named Citizen of the Year by Cottage Grove Elks in 2012-2013.
While working with his clients and talking to community leaders, Roger realized that there was a great demand for sophisticated financial planning, so in 1984, he became a licensed Certified Financial Planner with Financial Network in Cottage Grove, which had offices throughout the country. He also started Interwest Financial Advisors, an RIA firm. He was a graduate of the College for Financial Planning. He said that when he found financial planning, he had found his calling. He was a true planner. He learned how important helping people were from growing up on the farm. Neighbors helping neighbors. He had many clients all over the country and was chosen Rookie of the Year by Registered Representative magazine in January 1988. Roger was chosen Governor of the Golden Scale Advisory Council for Putnam Investments annually, one of the largest Mutual Fund companies in the country.
Roger met his lovely wife the former Eileen Block at a party in Pacific Palisades, CA in 1966 between his first and second Vietnam tours. After his return in July 1967, Roger and Eileen got engaged and married in December 1967 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Roger and Eileen were married for 53 years and had two children, Eric (Rochelle) and Lindsay. Eric and Rochelle have two boys and live in Truckee, CA, and Lindsay lives in San Diego, CA.
Roger was very active, running many 10K’s and even a couple of marathons. He also enjoyed riding his bike on long rides on the many beautiful rural roads around Eugene until he was diagnosed with MDS, a form of leukemia in 2012 at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute (WVCI) in Eugene. On September 18, 2013, he received a stem cell transplant at OHSU in Portland, in essence “starting life all over again.” Unfortunately, in October 2019, Roger was then diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) cancer at PeaceHealth Riverbend, and doctors removed a tumor in his brain. He then underwent radiation and chemotherapy. He lived far longer than his cancer doctor thought, we knew he would fight to the last minute because that was who he was. We are very thankful to the wonderful doctors and their staff at WVCI, OHSU and PeaceHealth.
Roger was preceded in death by his father Dan, his mother Burnette, and his brother Larry. Roger is survived by his wife Eileen, children Eric (Rochelle) and Lindsay, sisters Mary Baker and Linda Bell (Chris), sister-in-law Linda Russell, sister-in-law Wendy Block-Weiss (Kevin), two grandchildren and lots of cousins, nieces and nephews. Roger’s family asks that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in his name to the Oregon Cancer Foundation, or any other local non-profit organization doing good work in our community.
Arrangements by Sunset Hills Funeral Home, Crematorium & Cemetery in Eugene, OR.