Mike Russell was genuine. A rare breed these days. He was a wonderful, caring, giving man, and a very ornery, hard-headed cowboy. Horses were an important part of Mike’s life. He thoroughly enjoyed training, riding, and competing with his animals. In the last few years he rode mostly for enjoyment, but still loved the challenge of training a young horse.
Mike was seldom seen without one of his good cow dogs at his side while out checking his cattle. His last several years were spent raising registered Murray Grey cattle. Mike was very proud of the breed; he enjoyed spending time with them and raising good breeding stock. He was known to brag about his cattle to anyone who would listen, and in doing so he helped to increase interest and shared knowledge about the Murray Grey breed. Mike seemed to have an affinity with animals of all kinds, but he always found the Murray Greys to be gentle, easy to handle, and very good mothers.
Mike was one of a kind, and unfortunately they just don’t make ’em like him anymore. He was extremely knowledgeable, dependable, and helpful. He was a welder and backhoe operator for the majority of his adult life. In recent years, Mike managed the Delaware Rural Water District #11 and volunteered as a firefighter in the community of Leach, Oklahoma.
Mike was a true jack of all trades, as evidenced by the fact that we never found anything he couldn’t do!! He often referred to his many “repairs” as his Russell Riggin’. Although throughout the years, many of us have fussed about his numerous “repairs!”
Mike was a very creative and passionate person, always on the go and willing to help anyone he ever met. And he never met a stranger.
A young man who worked alongside Mike said this of him, “I’ve worked with a lot of people and none finer than him. I wish I had known him longer. Anyone that met him will miss him.” Truer words have never been spoken about Mike Russell.