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Obituary of Russ Walls
On the Road Again Russell James Walls was born December 19, 1932, in Monterey Park, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, and passed away December 8, 2021, in Milwaukie, Oregon, just 11 days before his 89th birthday. Russ was born one of two children to James Lytle Walls and Rose Bertram Walls. Russ graduated high school in Battleground, Washington, in 1950. We can only assume Russ participated in every debate team and excelled as a student. Russ graduated from Clark Junior College, then joined the Army in 1952. After serving our country for three years, Russ attended and graduated from Oregon State College, now Oregon State University, with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1958. Russ went to work for Jantzen, Inc. in Portland. After four years, Russ got the travel bug and went to France and bought a Citroen 2CV. He left Paris, drove around the Mediterranean Sea, and returned to Paris. After returning to the states, he started his construction contracting and real estate career. Russ built new construction as a self-employed contractor and divided and remodeled existing buildings. Russ prided himself on the use of “used” instead of new building materials. Russ could build houses from the drawing board to the completed product, including groundwork. He was a genius at remodeling property to add an Accessory Dwelling Unit to the existing home, making it more valuable. Russ built a 36-foot sailboat to fulfill his dream of sailing around the world with his wife and two preteen stepchildren. Their first stop was Hawaii for three years, then to the Pacific Islands, Australia, then across the Indian Ocean to South Africa. In Africa, the boat was sold, and a camping van was purchased and outfitted to drive up the East Coast of Africa, continued to Europe, the Middle East, Nepal, Afghanistan, India, and then back to Barcelona, Spain, and on to the Panama Canal. They continued their journey camping up through South America and home to Oregon. This 7-year journey completed Russ’ first trip around the world. While continuing to build houses, Russ built a 42-foot sailboat, this time sailing to Hawaii, where it was moored for several years. Russ met Phyllis in Portland, and they married a year later. As Elk members, they took dance lessons and enjoyed many years of ballroom dancing with a group of friends. They honeymooned in Mexico, camping in the VW van that Russ purchased during his first trip around the world. They spent many months planning a trip in the sailboat that Russ had built and left in Hawaii. In 1985 they had the boat stocked with food and signed on two deckhands – their 20-year-old nephew and a friend. They sailed to the Republic of Kiribati and French Polynesia, visiting all the islands, including Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Moorea, then back to Hawaii, taking a full year to complete the trip. They left the boat in Hawaii and returned to Oregon to continue building rental homes and spent most winter months in Mexico. In 1993, they went on a camping trip in Europe in the same VW van. They drove through all of Europe, the Middle East, on to Egypt and Israel. They were not planning to ship the van home, so they gave it to a young man from London and flew home to Portland. In 2000 they bought a Dodge van, shipped it to England, and traveled extensively through Europe and the Middle East. In November, they returned home when grandson Ricke was born. They visited many more countries by train, plane, automobile, or cruise ship: China, South Africa, South America, Russia, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Russ and Phyllis downsized and moved into a retirement community in 2020, the month COVID 19 hit. Russ officially retired from the rental business. Russ enjoyed life!! He had a passion for travel, loved listening to music – from country western to opera -- reading and visiting with anyone who would listen to his adventure stories. Russ was a master of storytelling. If you knew Russ, you have heard a story or two. Russ was very generous. He was willing to share his time, talent, and philanthropy. He was instrumental in starting and building a church in the Clackamas area and setting up a Fund at the Newberg Friends Retirement Home and the Folk-Time Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. Russ is survived by his wife of 37 years, Phyllis Walls of Milwaukie, OR. Russ didn’t have any children of his own, but he loved these kids as his own: Cindy (Rick) Streett of Frederick, MD; Kim Reinecker and Dave Spencer of Portland, OR; Jeff (Dixie) Francis of West Lynn, OR; Lori (Justin) Havlack of Kauai, HI and David (Theresa) Francis of Portland, OR. Grandchildren: Ricke Streett, Michelle (Tyson) Spiess; Jason (Brianna) Francis; and Zach (Hannah) Francis. He is also survived by his sister Betty Lou Sargent of Newberg, OR, and her children: David (Nancy) Sargent of Cannon Beach, OR; Roger (Louise) Sargent of Seattle, WA and Dianne Sargent of Newberg, OR. Russ and Phyllis had many friends all over the world. Russ requested no service. Russ loved the sunshine and warm weather. A family celebration of life may be planned when the weather is warmer. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be made to the Oregon Community Foundation; Folk-Time Fund; address: 1221 SW Yamhill St., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97205 or visit the link listed in "Tribute Links" at the top of the obituary.