He was born August 15, 1938 at Ravenswood Hospital in Chicago to Roman and Ladislava “Lottie” Kipkowski, both Polish immigrants from Warsaw, Poland. Russell, his parents and older sister Hermina “Mickey” resided in Norwood Park, both children attended Onahan Elementary and Taft High Schools.
At the age of 17, Russell joined the United States Navy, training at the United States Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois.
He married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Joanne Borucki, on November 23, 1959 at St. Thecla Church in Chicago. Following their marriage, Russell and Barbara set off on a world-wide journey of travel to distant places while he proudly served in the United States Coast Guard for the next 20 years. His various stations ranged from Juneau, Alaska to the South Pole, San Francisco to Hawaii, Vietnam to Marathon, Florida. As a United States Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer, his duties consisted of working closely with the U.S. Customs and Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as conducting specialized training in Search and Rescue and Maritime Law Enforcement. Although Russell sailed on many ships throughout his career, it was the USS Rockaway and her crew that earned a special place in his heart. Decorated with numerous honors and awards, including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Russell retired as a Chief Warrant Officer in Seattle, Washington.
Never one to be without a challenge, Russell pursued his passion with a career in Law Enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff for 19 years in the King County Sheriff’s Department in Washington State.
After residing in Venice, Florida for a short period of time, Russell and Barbara moved to Spring Grove, Illinois to be closer to family and granddaughters, Sheridan and Bergen. Russell achieved his lifelong dream by serving as a Marine Patrol Officer on the Chain O’ Lakes for the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. He was also a member of the McHenry Masonic Lodge, the Tebala Shriners and Medina Shriners organizations, actively participating in parades around the area as a “Genie” on his Magic Carpet.
Russell is survived by his wife of 54 years, his adult children, Natalie (Robert) Duma and John Kipkowski; granddaughters, Sheridan and Bergen; sister, Hermina “Mickey” (Hank) Sasse; sister-in-law, Darlene (the late Hank) Seligmann; brothers-in-law, Gerald Borucki and George (MaryAnn) Borucki; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved Jack Russell rescue dog, Snickers.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Roman and “Lottie” Kipkowski; brother-in-law, Hank Seligmann; and nephew, Kenneth Seligmann.
A Memorial service in Russell’s honor will be offered to friends and family Friday, August 1, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Justen Funeral Home & Crematory located at 3700 Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry, IL 60050. The Masonic funeral right will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that Russell’s memory be honored through a donation to a charity of ones choice or participating in a Random Act of Kindness for those inspired.