Russell Miles Ness, 96, of Brainerd, MN passed away on February 20, 2021 at Edgewood Vista Assisted Living in Brainerd, Minnesota. Memorial service will be 11am April 23, 2021 at the Halvorson Taylor Funeral Home with a visitation 1 hour prior. Graveside services and military honors will be held at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Camp Ripley, MN on April 23, 2021. A reception following the interment will be held at the home of Mark and Jill Ness.
Russell was the son of Esther and Andrew Ness and was born on September 25, 1924. He was baptized and confirmed in the Fridhem Lutheran Church in Lengby, MN where he grew up on a small farm, attended country school and graduated from Fosston High School in 1942.
He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean on the Destroyer Escort US William T. Powell. After the war he lived briefly in Bagley, MN where he married Leona L. Hilliard of Lengby on July 14, 1946 and they moved to Brainerd in 1947. Together they had two sons Brig. Gen. Mark R. Ness (retired USAF), and Dr. Bradley D. Ness, DDS.
Russell and Leona were avid members of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Brainerd for many years in a variety of leadership roles. Russell was a longtime member of the Brainerd Kiwanis, American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He volunteered regularly with Crow Wing County Social Services.
Russell was a federal employee at Camp Ripley, MN and a longtime member of the Minnesota Army National Guard. After 30 years of government service, he retired in 1984 as the Senior State Auditor for the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO) and from the Nation Guard at the rank of Sergeant Major.
Russ loved spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren, wood-working and wood carving projects, and traveling to his winter home in Tucson, AZ with Leona. He will be sorely missed for his kindness, quiet and gentle personality, and a genuine spirit of great character, generosity and integrity. Lost to us are his uplifting and delightful sense of humor and positive outlook. He was admired for his religious conviction evident in his caring lifelong example.
Russell is survived by his son Mark Ness and Jill (Thompson) of Baxter, grandson Andrew Ness of Minneapolis, step-grandsons Ben Ramsland, Tom and Chelsea (Nester) Ramsland, and John Ramsland. He is also survived by grandchildren Emily Ness (Adolfo Castro) of Woodbury and Kirsten Ness of Alexandria, great grandchildren Leona, Lily and Logan Ramsland of Colorado Springs and Kai Castro of Woodbury.
Russell was preceded in death by his mother Esther, Sisters Inez Cartright and Ariel Larson of Bagley and brother Lester Solberg of Lengby, MN. He was also preceded in death by his loving wife Leona and cherished son Dr. Bradley Ness of Waseca, MN.
The family requests memorials made to Minnesota Military Museum Foundation; Dr. Bradley D. Ness Foundation at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN.