Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Faces in the Crowd: Richie Russell

Richard Russell IV [the 4th] – “Richie” as he’s known to friends and family – has always been big on keeping with the family tradition.
Fishing. Construction. Music.
It’s all in his blood.
Just like his dad and grandparents, Richie, a 2004 Marion graduate, grew up in and on the water. He grew up outdoors. He fell in love with singing, and later fell in love with working construction. Just like the Russell’s before him.
And just like those before him, he made his way back to his hometown and started a family. In August of 2019, Richard Russell V [the fifth] – “RJ” as he’s known to family and friends – was born. Since RJ was born, Richie and Lynn have added yet another member to the family: their daughter Remi, who was born in June of 2022.
And just like their dad, little RJ and Remi are growing up on the water, with the Middle Branch River right out their back door.
We caught up with Richie recently and we learned a little bit more about his life, his family, and his love for fishing. We learned that Richie Russell is certainly more than just another face in the crowd.
Marion Press: Where were you born and raised?
Richie: Here [in Marion]. I did have a short stint when we lived in Charlevoix, but that was only for a couple of years. I was there 2nd and 3rd grade, and I came back probably a month into 4th grade.
MP: What kept you busy as a kid?
Richie: I was always outdoors; that never changed. Growing up, we lived on a trout pond out by the old Gernaat farm near Vogel Center. We lived on a trout pond, and I grew up on the water, literally. My dad got me into fishing; that’s been a family thing forever.
MP: What kept you busy in school? What are some of your favorite memories from going to Marion?
Richie: A little bit of everything. Played football and baseball. I was in most of the clubs, I guess. Pretty much anything. If it came up, I was in it!
I liked the small town. After being out, and going to college, and meeting all these people who went to big schools, it was like, ‘How could they do that?’ We knew everybody – literally everybody – from 6th through 12th. It’s nice. Still is nice. It’s getting smaller, so it’s easier to remember everybody, but that’s okay.
MP: Where’d life take you after high school?
Richie: Went to Northern [Michigan University] for 2 years. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do right away, but I wouldn’t change it. I loved it. I loved Marquette. The UP, it was uncharted territory for me up to that point. I had always heard about it, but I had never actually been there. It’s a whole different world up there. It’s nothing like down here. The people, the culture… the weather!
[After coming back] I coached baseball at Marion for 5 years; I assisted Kurt [Gillespie] for 5 years after high school. Baseball’s always been my favorite sport. And I played a lot of softball when I came back – that was about the same time the softball league fired back up in Marion.
MP: Tell us a little bit about your career now.
Richie: I work for DJ McQuestion and Sons, out of Leroy. It’s a road construction company, and I’m actually the third [Russell] generation to work there. 4th generation construction worker, but 3rd to come out of this office. I’ve been with them 11 years.
[What I do] depends on the day. I’m usually in equipment of some sort: loaders, backhoes, dozers, skid steers. I spend a lot of time in a truck – I have my CDL – so I spend a lot of time in your dump trunks or water tankers, a lowboy sometimes hauling equipment. It just depends on the day.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about working there?
Richie: I like operating the heavy equipment; it’s not something that everybody gets to do. I like the guys that I work with – we have a really good crew. Being able to travel; we see a lot of new places. We’re pretty much bridge to the border, and shore to shore.
MP: You ever take your fishing pole?
Richie: Haha, yeah. I’ve usually got a fishing pole everywhere I go!
MP: Why do you love fishing so much?
Richie: I dunno… being outside, the outdoors. The challenge of outsmarting mother nature, really.
MP: What kind of fishing do you enjoy most? And you still might get skunked once in a while though, right?
Richie: Oh yeah, it happens more than I’d care to admit! Probably ice fishing [is my favorite]. I get the most time then, but I like ice fishing – anybody that knows me, knows I ice fish. I get a lot of phone calls from guys wondering where to go, if it’s time to go. I’ve gotten to know quite a bit of [the lakes in] northern Michigan.
MP: Where’s your favorite place to fish?
Richie: I don’t really have a favorite. However, after going to Canada again this winter, it’s quickly getting up there. We go perch fishing over at Lake Simcoe – it’s about an hour north of Toronto. It’s famed for its perch fishing in the wintertime.
MP: When you’re not working, what keeps you busy?
Richie: Working on house projects. I’m not great at woodworking, but I’m teaching myself. I’ve built some things around the house. During the wintertime, I do build tip-ups that are used in ice fishing. So I’m still not far from the ice, even when I’m not there. It’s not really a business; it’s just something that keeps me busy on really nasty days when I’m not fishing.
I’ve got into some woodworking, and being a relatively new home owner, you learn to do stuff rather than call the guy.
MP: What’s the Russell family been up to?
Richie: We’re growing, obviously. RJ is 3 and half, and Remi is 10 months. She’s fully mobile – she’s not walking yet, but she’s cruising on her knees. Crawling 100 miles an hour, everywhere. And she’s so curious. RJ is the same way. He gets into everything; he wants to see everything. Lynn and I have been together for 13 years.
MP: Has RJ gotten the fishing bug?
Richie: Oh, absolutely. He actually out fishes me here at the house. It’s fun living out here on the river. He caught his first fish down here last spring. He reeled it in on his own, and reeled it up. That was pretty cool.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about living in Marion? What’s kept you here?
Richie: I guess I’m a homebody. My family’s here. This is everything I know. Some people say that they’re stuck, and if that’s how you view it, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t say I’m stuck here – I could go anywhere; I want to be here. The small-town living, it still is a thing. You can go next door and get eggs – or anything for that matter – from your neighbor. I can walk to my sister’s house. I can walk to Trevor [Eising’s] house. And if I wanted to, I can walk all the way to Mike and my cousin Teri Quibell’s house.
MP: We were sorry to hear that your grandma [Marilyn] Russell just recently passed away. What are some of your favorite memories of Grandma Russell?
Richie: I mean, that’s grandma. She was always – being next door – you could go over there, whenever. She was always there. She always had cookies; she always had sweets for the grandkids. She was a nice lady, and it seemed like everybody in town knew her. People from the church, people knew her from [the store] Ben Franklin, village wise. They owned that store for 30 years maybe? I’m not really sure how long they owned it, but my dad said they were wrapping presents in that basement when they were pretty young. They’d do that around Christmastime; If you bought anything there, you could have it giftwrapped. I remember going there, because we would go downstairs, and they had candy by the pound. You’d go downstairs with a shovel, and bag candy by the pound. I’d always go down there and put as much candy as I could fit in my pockets, after grandma would tell me to go downstairs and just get one!
MP: And music has been a big part of your life, did that come from Grandma Russell?
Richie: Oh, yeah. My dad sang – he played guitar a little bit. Aunt Sandy is everyone’s piano savant for the last 40 years. Music was always a big deal in my family. When we had Christmas at Grandma’s house, we didn’t get to open any presents until we sang the whole book of carols! Aunt Sandy would jump on the keys, and everybody would open their book and away we’d go.
I don’t know why but music just stuck with me going through school. I gravitated more towards choir than band. And I just stuck with it; I liked it. I was in the choir both years at Northern Michigan as well. Now I just stick to the shower and the occasional karaoke night!
MP: Who have been your role models?
Richie: It depends on the time; I’ve always had different ones. Looking back now, Dad was always harping on me, and pushing and pushing, but it was a good thing. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but nothing ever does when you’re a kid. It was like, ‘Why? I just wanna go have fun!’ He taught me my work ethic – it took me a while to come around to it. There’s things that you want to learn, and things that you don’t want to learn, that apparently you need to.

One Reply to “Faces in the Crowd: Richie Russell

  1. Great read Richie! Didn’t know about your love of singing 🙂 Will you be moving into Grandma Russell’s home?

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