Russell Eugene Rattie passed away at his home in Elma, Washington, on Aug. 21, 2021, following an extended illness. He was born on Feb. 1, 1931, in Malone, Washington, to Frank and Emma Matthews Rattie. He attended school in Malone and Elma, graduating from Elma High School in 1948.
Following graduation, Russell joined the U.S. Navy, where he served aboard the destroyer USS Gregory from 1950 to 1954, during the Korean War. He was proud of his time in the U.S. Navy and was still sporting his USS Gregory hat during his last days on earth.
During the ‘50s, Russell was employed by Simpson Timber Company and the U.S. Postal Service in Elma. However, most of his working life he was employed by and retired from the City of Elma.
After his discharge from the Navy, he married Eileen McHatton. Sadly, Eileen passed away early in their marriage.
In 1959, Russell married Marcella Pearsall Fitzgerald of Elma and built a wonderful life around Marcella and her girls (Linda and Loni), and brought two boys (Frank and Rick) into their family together. They enjoyed their many years together, sharing their love of the Olympic National Park and Rainforest, photography, camping, playing cards and traveling. They greatly enjoyed trips to Yellowstone, Canada and cruises to Alaska. Their favorite places were the Hoh River, Lake Quinault, and many other parts of the Olympic National Forest. Together they counted eagles for the state and spent many years filming and photographing the eagles, elk and other wildlife in those areas.
Russell was a gifted athlete, who received many trophies and awards in golf, bowling, slow pitch and horseshoes. His love of golf was passed on to grandsons and great-grandchildren. He encouraged them to play golf as a high school sport. His thoughts were: “Forget football. You will enjoy the game of golf most of your life.” With Papa coaching them, they learned the game well and have many “Russ-isms” to share.
Russ so loved high school sports that he ran the yardage chains at the Elma High School football games for over 30 years.
Russ was an accomplished outdoorsman, an avid fisherman, as well as rifle and bow hunter. He enjoyed providing food for the table with salmon, venison, elk and chanterelle mushrooms that he gathered himself.
Russ and Marcella loved their little farm, where they raised quail, chickens, ducks, cows and horses, much to the delight of their children and grandchildren.
Russ was known as a gifted storyteller, stories that were generously sprinkled with salty language and colorful “Russ-isms.”
Russell was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Dorothy Rattie Theriault; brother, Desire Rattie; son, Rick Rattie; and most recently, his beloved wife, Marcella, who passed on April 27, 2021.
Russell is survived by his remaining children: Frank Ratte of Elma, Linda Fitzgerald of Elma and Loni Fitzgerald of Olympia. He had six grandchildren: Shannon Schneider (Bryan) of Elma, Jaime Curl (Alisha) of Suquamish, Adam Catterlin (Erin) of McCleary, Jessica Morris (Nick) of Montesano, Stevie Fitzgerald of Olympia and Connor Hawthorne of Shoreline. He was also blessed with 17 great-grandchildren: Taylor and Tanner Sample; Sam, Reina, Jackson and Luke Schneider; Lucia Curl; Clive and Austin Morse; Seth, Rhett, Christian, Ashton and Lincoln Morris; and Liam, Finley and Roslyn Catterlin. Russell also leaves his nieces Sheila Jeffrey, Jacki Riel and Ruth Ann Hurt.
A few years ago, Russ had a celebration of his life “while I am still here to enjoy the party!” Big stories were told, libations were had, and many, many laughs for hours and hours. Therefore, at his request, there will not be a service. In lieu of a service, we ask that you spend time in the rainforest, tell a tall story to a friend and spend time with those you love.
Special thanks to Harbor Home Health and Hospice and Virginia Parsons for their loving care.