He was born Aug. 2, 1923, in Fort Wayne, Ind., to the late Russell W. and Ruth (Stukey) Rhoades. His formative years were spent in Fort Wayne. At the age of 15, the family moved to a farm outside of South Whitley. He attended South Whitley High School. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He received a medical discharge. On June 3, 1944, he was united in marriage to Doris A. Jenkins.
The couple made their home in Fort Wayne for a short period then moved to Montana and Wyoming for about 4 years. They returned to the area and made their home in South Whitley. A career long truck driver, Russell drove for Murphy Trucking, Metzger Trucking, Silver Lake, Ind., and spent 17 years working with General Electric, Fort Wayne, as an over-the-road trucker retiring in 1981. In 1996, he began part-time driving for Tranter Paper, South Whitley.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years; four daughters: Gwen Gephart, Fort Wayne; Deanna (Randall) Lancaster, Henderson, Nev.; Carolyn (Daryl) Eberly, South Whitley; Stacey (Brian) Rhoades-Yee, Fort Wayne; 10 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; a sister: Maxine Johnson, Warsaw, Ind.; and a brother: Harold Rhoades, Columbia City, Ind.
He was preceded in death by two brothers: Ronald and Bill Rhoades; and a son-in-law: Jerry Gephart.
Visitation will take place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Smith and Sons Miller Chapel, South Whitley. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, at the funeral home. Burial will take place in the South Whitley Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Cleveland Township Fire Department or Whitley County Humane Society.