BUSBY - Eugene Fisher Russell, Vohpooheuahtse (White Fingernail) 62, passed away suddenly on April 9, 2002, at the Deaconess Billings Clinic in Billings.
He was born Sept. 1, 1939, in Busby, a son of John and Alice Risingsun Russell, Sr.
Eugene was a direct descendant of the heredity chiefs and was one of the last two people to be seated in the Cheyenne traditional way with the Kit Fox Society in 1947. He actively participated in the Native American Church and carried on the fireplace from his father, the late John Russell, Sr. Eugene also took part in the Sundance ceremonies and Fasting Ceremonies at Bear Butte as a vision seeker and instructor to many individuals who came and asked him for his assistance.
In his younger years he was a member of the Busby High School Rodeo Club and was the Montana High School State saddle bronc champion He was best known for his athletic abilities in basketball, war dancing, horse racing, humor and wit. In his older years he enjoyed attending sweat lodge prayer meetings, peyote meetings, peyote drumming, spending time with his children and grandchildren, playing bingo and visiting.
He served three terms on the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council, worked for the Home Improvement Program, Northern Cheyenne Utilities, Busby School and other tribal programs which included counselor for the detox center. He was a spiritual and peyote mentor to J.D. Little Whiteman. He thought a lot of this young man and wanted him to follow the peyote road.
His parents, a sister Agnes Russell; his brothers Clifford Russell Sr. and Charles Russell and an adopted brother, Norman Brady preceded Eugene in death.
Survivors include his wife, Wanda Bites Russell of Busby; his children, Eugenia, Karen, Leland Russell of Busby and Corrine Russell of Billings; one adopted son, Marlin (Roni) Brady of Lame Deer; one adopted granddaughter, Hannah Russell of Lame Deer; two brothers, John (Thomasine) Russell, Jr. of Lame Deer and Justin (Barbara) Jenkins of Musselshell; two sisters, Elva and Elsie Russell of Busby; 12 grandchildren; one great-grandson and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Known by his family and friends as Uncle Gene, his passing has left us all grief stricken. Husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend and mentor, love and memories will live on in each one of us that your love and support has touched.
Wake services will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 14, in the family home. Funeral services will at 11 a.m. Monday at the family home. Traditional burial will be held in the Russell Family Cemetery. Bullis Mortuary has been entrusted with the arrangements.