Tahlequah Daily Press


May 16, 2014

Russell John Halliger

PARK HILL — Russell John Halliger was born June 11, 1934, the oldest of nine children, to John and Fay (Blatzheim) Halliger, in Minnesota, where he spent his childhood. Russ passed away on Monday, May 12, at his home in Park Hill, at the age of 79.

He met and married Betty Tiffany in 1954. After some early moving around, the growing family settled in Spring City, Pa., just outside Valley Forge. The couple raised four children (Mike, Lynda, Teri, and Tony) on a half-acre of yard that backed up to state property where the woods, creek and fields provided space and experiences city life could not have.

Russ was a multi-talented man who had a number of jobs including but not limited to snowplow driver, plant manager, Valley Maid potato chip route driver, tree service owner/operator, gas station/mini mart owner operator, U-Haul dealership franchisee, Laundromat owner, and more.

He took his family camping on the Jersey Shore and showed them the early days of Atlantic City and Wildwood in the 60s. Each winter, he would load the family station wagon and drive the 24 hours to southeast Minnesota to spend the holidays with his family; there were no Interstate highways on that route then.

In 1972, he moved his family to southeast Florida. The kids were teenagers then and he saw retirement staring him in the face; so they adopted Cathi instead! The lifestyle afforded by the tropics suited him well. He loved the water, swimming, fishing, scuba-diving, humidity, heat, girls in bikinis, boat drinks, and Jimmy Buffett.

Unfortunately, Betty struggled with the humidity, so they moved to Oregon to help his parents with his sister, Denise, who had muscular dystrophy and used a wheelchair for mobility. Betty filled that need for many years in Dallas, Ore., where the family owned numerous small businesses.

Russ’s health took a turn for the worse in August of 1987, when he suffered a stroke and had to retire from the Mini-Mart, U-Haul, Laundromat he and Betty owned in Dallas. He never drove after that and became a familiar sight around town on his bicycle. Some years later they relocated to the desert in Arizona, but that was difficult for Betty who suffered in the heat.

When it became apparent that Russ and Betty were aging and would need help, they moved near Tony and Jodell and their daughters in Park Hill. After Tony’s untimely death in 2011, Cathi took over as primary care provider and remained in that capacity until both parents went through their gate into the next plane.

Russ was predeceased by his wife, Betty; daughter, Teri Ann Tarleton; son, Tony Halliger; and granddaughter Dana Halliger.

Russ is survived by three of his five children, Mike (Cindy) of Leicester, N.C., Lynda Otvos (Ormond) of San Francisco Bay Area, and Cathi McDonnell (Adam) of Park Hill, and their families; as well as the families of Teri and Tony; 13 grandkids; and numerous great-grandchildren.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to each individual’s favorite charity. Russ donated his body to science – perhaps some significant research will be advanced by his last selfless gesture. Obituary submitted through Green Country Funeral Home. Online condolences may be left at tahlequahfuneral.com.

Green Country Funeral Home, 203 S. Commercial Road, (918) 458-5055.

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