David Russell 'Rusty' Elliston
September 8, 1950 - August 8, 2013
August 12, 2013
Russell Elliston, 62, passed away on August 8,
2013, at his home near Moyie Springs, Idaho. A
celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m.
Saturday, August 17, at the family home. Bring a
candle and story to tell.
David Russell was known throughout his life as
"Rusty." He was born to Bettye Jo and Billy Ray
Elliston, both from Texas, on September 8, 1950,
in Blackfoot, Idaho. He was the oldest of three
children, followed by brother Mark and sister
Billy Ray was a steamfitter welder who worked
all over the country, sometimes taking the
family with him and sometimes leaving them on
the farm as in Cedaredge, Colorado, where young
Rusty learned to love the country and farm life.
While in high school Rusty won mathematics
awards and was on the varsity tennis team,
becoming number16 in the Southwestern
He had a talent for the sciences and
electronics, building his own radio transmitter
from a small quartz crystal. Rusty was a member
of the chess club and was seldom defeated.
At age 16 he met Linda Hardinger in church, whom
he married three years later. He was so shy, she
asked him out for their first date.
After high school, Russ got on the waiting list
for the five-year steamfitter apprenticeship
program. While waiting, he enrolled at the
University of Arizona and majored in creative
writing and literature.
For a country boy, he could read Beowolf in Old
English, Don Quixoti in Spanish, and write
After three years at the U of A his opportunity
came to join the apprenticeship, believing he
would make more money at a good trade than from
a college degree in literature.
He would follow his father and uncles' footsteps
as a master craftsman, who was well respected
for his work and leadership. He helped to build
the original Alaska pipeline in the 70s, where
he often volunteered for outside work at 70
degrees below zero for the solitude. One of his
favorite memories was being asked why he stood
outside at dawn everyday before work and
responded, "I'm watching a baby day be born!"
It was his favorite Melanie song.
By 1981 Linda and Rusty had born four children:
Christopher Blake, David Aaron, Merri Valancy
and Alethea Lynn. In 1998 they would raise their
granddaughter Luanna after Merri's death.
He and his young family moved to Moyie Springs
in 1982. After 30 years of traveling work, he
decided on a career change that would keep him
closer to home.
Rusty's grandmother was to be a new resident at
the Boundary County Extended Care facility. He
became a certified nurses aid so he could help
with her care.
He fell in love with his patients, became
skilled in Alzheimer's care, and instructed
other staff in validation therapy. Rusty always
kept milk goats, especially for his kids with
He was an accomplished martial artist with a
black belt in Kung Fu. The sermon he preached
In January of 2013, Rusty was diagnosed with
stage four bladder cancer and he passed away
August 8 at his home. He will be greatly missed,
as many took advantage to "Google Rusty."
He seemed to know something about anything. For
a quiet man who seldom left home he had many
friends who sought him out for wisdom. Linda and
Rusty were married 43 years.
He is survived by his mother, Bettye Jo, his
sister Cyndi Picicci, brother Mark Elliston,
children Chris, David, Leah Driver and their
families, and Annie.
We look forward to being reunited again at the