Russell Jenkins, age 89, passed away on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan. He was born on September 28, 1934, at his grandparents’ house on Cooley Street in Missoula to Delwin and Gertrude Jenkins.
Russell attended several grade schools in Missoula and graduated from Missoula County High School (Hellgate) in the Class of 1953. He married Alyce Durant and to this marriage five children were born – Joni, Peggy Sue, Kenneth, James, and Michael.
Russell was employed by Montgomery Wards in Missoula and Eugene, Oregon, the FA Buttrey Company in Great Falls, he managed the Buttrey Suburban Department Store in Missoula, managed Avis Car Rentals of Montana, a partner in Heritage Motors and American Dental as Sales and Liaison Director.
In 1991, when American Dental was sold to Hewfriedy Dental of Chicago, Russell put together a business plan and with a group of 14 craftsmen, found an investor and started American Eagle Dental in 1992. The company has grown to over 70 employees and sells dental products all over the world. He retired from there in 2004.
Russell moved to Ronan and later married Dian Fyant in 1997. He then became active in volunteer work at the Ronan Seventh-Day Adventist Church as Community Outreach Leader (as well as the Layette program and Soup – er Bowl fund raiser for the Ronan and Polson food banks); as well as Share the Spirit Christmas Program, Cheerful Hearts, St. Luke Extended Care bingo helper and Mission Mountain Group Homes.
Russell dearly loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, their cabin in the Swan, bass fishing and whitetail deer hunting. He remembered his Buttrey Suburban and American Eagle employees as second families.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents, stepfather Eugene Anderson and daughter Peggy Sue.
Russell is survived by his wife Dian, sister Margaret Doty (Spokane, WA); daughter Joni McCann (Atlanta, GA); sons Ken and wife Julie (Missoula, MT); Jim and wife Sandy (Belgrade, MT); Mike and wife Kathy (Florence, MT); 9 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, stepchildren, Brian and wife Mindy Fyant and children (Ronan, MT) and Steve Fyant (Lewistown, MT) and many nieces and nephews.