Russell moved to Lakeside, Washington at age 4 from the place of his birth in Hood River, Oregon in 1946 along with his parents Wallace (Wally) J. and Martha Jane Miller and a sister Mary Ruth.
They moved from one apple growing area to another. Wally had been hired to manage the Valley Evaporating Company plant at Chelan Falls. They all lived in Lakeside until the two towns combined in 1956 plus added another member of the family John David (J.D.) in 1952. Rusty did the usual things of youngsters of the time, was a cub scout (his mother was the leader), boy scout (attended National Jamboree in 1957 at Valley Forge) and explorer scout plus thinned apples under the direction of Jim Carroll, picked up props in a south shore orchard. He was a member of the FFA group that sold ice cream to the crowd watching the Apple Cup Hydro races from the hills around Lake Chelan one year.
Russell worked for the JC Penney store in Chelan after school and weekends while attending Chelan High School. The family moved to the corner of Sanders and Trow in Chelan proper in 1959. Martha Jane still lives there. Wally died in 1998.
Rusty graduated from Chelan High School in 1960 and that summer worked some at the Penney store, washed cars for the Ford dealership, and started his first bit of working for Valley Evaporating Company.
The University of Oregon in Eugene was the next schooling but no degree, did get one from Wenatchee Valley College in 1963. Uncle Sam came calling in 1963 so he joined the Air Force Reserve and spent much of 1964 and a little of 1965 on active duty attending Ground Communication Equipment Repairman training at Kessler Air Force Base in Boloxi, Mississippi. He did get a couple of visits to New Orleans while stationed at Kessler plus played in a chess tournament in Gulfport, MS.
February 1965 found him back in Chelan and working again at the Valley Evaporating Company office in Chelan Falls. In 1966 the main Valley Evaporating Company office in Yakima needed a replacement for the traffic manager position so Rusty moved to an apartment in Yakima.
Chess has been a big part of his life. He learned to play about age 10 and was Chelan High School champion during his high school years. The first open tournament play happened in Portland Oregon in 1961 while attending U of O. He met his future wife at a chess tournament in Seattle in 1966. She actually meet him and his family the year before in Chelan at a chess event Rusty organized but he has never remember that meeting.
Rusty has played in, organized and directed tournaments all over Washington and Oregon from 1961 to 1996. Several times he has played in the two week long US Open tournaments in major cities of the USA, Chicago (twice), Fort Worth, Pasadena, Atlanta, plus attending annual meetings, which are held during US Opens of the United States Chess Federation in St. Paul, Lincoln NE and Boston. He is just an average tournament player winning about 50% of the tournament games he played.
Other chess activities have been; President of Washington Chess Federation, Editor of Northwest Chess Magazine.
Kathryn Eddy and he were married in Seattle in 1967. They have one child, Ielleen who graduated from University of Washington and went on to Rugters to get a Library of Science degree and is now working in Springfield IL for the University of Illinois in the Springfield Library. No grandchildren.
The traffic manager job for Valley Evaporating Company lasted until 1985 when the company downsized. Rusty had built a Southwest Technical Computer from a kit in early 1980's and had taken it to work and wrote programs in Basic programming language to automate his job. He even spent the money to purchase two modems and he could operate the computer that was in his office in downtown Yakima from his home out toward Cowiche. He worked closely for many years with the general manager of the company and told the plants what to make and what products to ship to whom and how to ship them and then would, using a program he wrote, invoice the customer for the items.
He even saved the invoicing data to give the sales department reports on what had been sold.
After getting no job interviews he borrowed some funds from his dad and in August 1985 brought a small bookstore in West Seattle, big mistake. The fellow he purchased it from opened a bookstore about two blocks away and that meant Rusty's store was a money loser and with nothing really to sell to a new owner, so Pioneer West Bookshop was shut down.
The next job was chess full time, not as a player, he was not good enough for that but as an office worker and later Business Manager for International Chess Enterprises in Seattle. They published a chess magazine plus chess books and for awhile had a game store in downtown Seattle. That lasted from 1991 to 2001.
International Chess Enterprises went out of business. Business kept going under on him.
What to do next? His mother had room in her home in Chelan so Rusty and Kathy moved in with her. They brought two cats along plus a lot of furniture, chess books and magazines which take up 1/2 of the two car garage. Rusty looked around for a job in Chelan area but found nothing. To old, he thinks, as there were lots of other younger people looking for jobs also. Kathy found a part-time job at the local newspaper.
So he has had lots of time to work on family genealogy, check out the chess sites for news on the Internet and help out at local the food bank plus help with Senior Meals program one day a week. He has been looking for 30 years for the Mayflower ancestor. His COOKE ancestors thought they came from Francis COOKE of the Mayflower group but he is pretty sure they descend from Henry COOKE who came a bit later to New England. He did find his wife's Mayflower connection, the same one that President Bush has, John HOWLAND. He has more than 10,000 entries in his genealogy database. Another fun thing is learning more about Chelan area history such as George B. McClellan who was at the foot of Lake Chelan on September 25, 1853 and later was a Civil War General that President Lincoln fired twice. He also has found out more about Henry Merriam who led the Army post at Camp Chelan in 1879-1880. He has been editor of local genealogy society newsletter for several issues. He keeps the calendar of chess events for Northwest Chess Magazine and writes up a few articles mostly about Washington chess history.
His parents were both members of Chelan City Council
at one time, not the same time.
Martha Jane and Vivian Goukroger were the first women to be elected to the council.
His dad was a school board member for several years, and active in the the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Board of Directors and President of the organization too.
Russell has been keeping busy attending meetings of these same groups today, just to see what is going on with them. He was also talked into being on the board of Chelan Senior Center. While in Yakima he ran for city council twice but was not elected.
He was appointed to the Yakima planning commission for a term.
He volunteerd with the Yakima County GOP, as Treasurer.
He is currently working on a project to find and build a database of all the people who have graduated from Chelan High School from the first year, 1907.