Russell Eugene Chaput was born on June 29, 1915, to parents Eugene (Quebec, Canada) and Marie Louise (Corriveau) Chaput in Lake Linden, Mich. French was his primary language when he attended St. Matthew's grade school upon moving to St. Paul. He graduated from Humboldt High School.
In 1941 he married Bertha "Sis" M. Schoen and briefly worked for Schmidt's Brewery but soon enlisted in the Navy Air Corps when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He served as an Aviation Machinist Mate First Class helping with the aftermath cleanup, repairing aircraft and flying reconnaissance missions over the Pacific. After his honorable discharge, he worked as the owner-mechanic of his gas station auto repair shop on the "west side." Russ was known to be able to fix anything. He helped his friends with electrical, plumbing, cement and carpentry work. He and Bertha owned a liquor store in West St. Paul. He also worked for the University of Minnesota Maintenance Department. His values were hard work, honesty and respect for others. He loved to fish and hunt in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Canada. Russ and his brothers also helped build the last St. Paul Winter Carnival ice castle in 1989. After Bertha passed away in 2007, Russ lived with his daughter, Jane (Bill) Nemitz on Lake Hubert in Nisswa, Minn., and was also cared for by his daughter, Linda. He dearly loved and actively played with his two great-grandchildren, Hailey and Cooper. He enjoyed attending Breath of Life Adult Day Care Program in Brainerd where he was known as a champion cribbage player. He made many friends with his smile while attending Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa. Russell was a faithful member of St. Mathew's Catholic Church for 84 years. Russell passed away July 14, 2009, at 94 years of age among family in St. Cloud Hospital.
He is survived by his brother, Roland "Buck" Chaput, White Bear Lake, Minn.; two daughters, Jane (Bill) Nemitz, Nisswa, Minn., Linda Chaput, Milltown Wis.; grandchildren, Johnny (Margo Tantau) Stiff, Kansas City, Mo., Jeffrey (Christine and daughter, Shandi Grimsley) Stiff, Bloomington, Minn., Jill (Mick) Hlavinka, Zimmerman, Minn.; stepgrandchildren, Billy (Laurie Vadnais) Nemitz, Pequot Lake, Minn., Diane Nemitz, Oakdale, Minn.; great-grandchildren, Hailey Jane Hlavinka, Zimmerman, Minn., and Cooper John Stiff Tantau, Kansas City, Mo.; many nieces and nephews from the Chaput, Wegner (Collopy) and Reil (Schwan) families. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Marie Louise; brother, Edwin; and sister, Glodia (Chaput) Reil; and his wife of 66 years, Bertha "Sis" (Schoen).
The Celebration of Life Memorial Mass will be held at St. Matthew's Catholic Church, 490 Hall Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55107, Thursday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. Friends are welcome one hour before. Private inurnment will be in Fort Snelling. Memorials preferred in lieu of flowers to St. Matthew's Church or Breath of Life Day Care Center, 200 Buffalo Hills Lane E, Brainerd, MN 56401, or Lutheran Church of the Cross, 5064 County Road 13, P.O. Box 29, Nisswa, MN 56468.
Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home, Brainerd, Minn.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.