Russell Tibbetts Obituary, Death – Russell Tibbetts Has Suddenly Passed Away. Dear friends and family of Russ, it is with a heavy heart that we share the news of our father’s shuffling off this mortal coil. In lieu of making a separate post, we’ll share this long-form obituary here before we publish a shorter version in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Russell Jerome Tibbetts, aged 73, of Fort Myers, Florida, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the 6th of May. He was born on the 22nd of April in 1950, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in South Minneapolis, and graduated from Roosevelt High in 1968. He built a strong network of childhood friends, remaining close with many of them as an adult.
Russ was drafted into the Army in 1969. He married Donna Stumpf during furlough between boot camp and active deployment in Vietnam. There, he served as an MP in the MACV unit under General Creighton Abrams. When Russ returned from the war, he studied architectural draftsmanship at Dunwoody Institute. He had three sons with Donna – Jason, Joshua, and Jeff. In 1974 he moved with his family to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to pursue a career in architecture at Larson & Unzeitig, and OPN. Though they divorced, they remained good friends.
He remarried in 1987 to Marti Bradford, and continued his career working from home as a freelance draftsman. They lived happily with their German Shepherds, Beorn and Buck, as well as several cats and a truly epic red-tailed catfish, Radar. They also remained friends after their divorce. Russ moved back to Minneapolis in 1994, working for ATS+R, and Opus. He often remarked with wonder that he was able to get paid for drawing pictures all day. He was a natural storyteller, quick with a quote, quip, joke, or pithy story for anyone who would listen. Russ’s loquaciousness and sense of humor were legendary, and he gathered a substantial community of friends around him wherever he went.
He rarely told a simple story when a longer one would do, and refused to answer yes or no questions with anything but an essay. He came alive in conversation, talking to anyone and everyone about any subject, happily passing the time as they got to know each other better. He was also a talented artist, and spoke often of the wonder of cinema, music, books, history, and of course architecture. He advocated taking the scenic route to explore a new town or neighborhood, feeding his endless desire to learn more about the people and places around him.
When Russ retired from his long career, he relocated to Fort Myers, Florida, trading the bitter cold of his childhood for sunny days. He wanted to be close to the Minnesota Twins Spring Training camp, among other things. He always enjoyed sports, playing hockey in his youth, and enjoyed going to baseball games with a group of his buddies who shared their support for the Twins. He also loved to play golf with his friends, presumably because it gave him a captive audience for 9 or 18 holes.
Russ is survived by his sons – Jason, Josh, and Jeff, his sister, Carole McConnell and her cat Daisy, former spouses Donna and Marti, and six grandchildren – Kitty, Anna, Julia, Ray, Rook, and Rebecca, plus twelve grand cats who shall remain unnamed. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Agnes, and his brothers Bob and Dick. Russ will be cremated, and his ashes interred on the 25th of May at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, where his father, mother, and brother Bob lay in rest. We’re also planning to host a celebration of Russ’s life at JJ’s Clubhouse in Golden Valley on the 25th. Further details to follow.