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Friday, May 16, 2014

Dad's Obituary

Below is the obituary I submitted to the Tahlequah OK Daily Press about my father's recent death.

Russell John Halliger June 11, 1934 - May 12, 2014

Russ Halliger, 79, died May 12, 2014 in Park Hill OK.

Russ was born the oldest of nine children to John and Fay (Blatzheim) Halliger in Minnesota where he spent his childhood. He met and married Betty Tiffany in 1954. After some early moving around, the growing family settled in Spring City PA, just outside Valley Forge. The couple raised four children (Mike, Lynda, Teri, Tony)  on a half acre of yard that backed up to State property where the woods, creek and fields provided space and experiences city life could not have. Russ was a Multi-talented man who had a number of jobs including but not limited to snowplow driver, plant manager, Valley Maid potato chip route driver, tree service owner/operator, gas station/mini mart owner operator, U Haul dealership franchisee, laundromat owner… 

He took his family camping on the Jersey shore and showed them the early days of Atlantic City and Wildwood in the 60s. Each winter, he would load the family station wagon and drive the 24 hours to SE Minnesota to spend the holidays with his family; there were no Interstate highways on that route then.

In 1972, he moved his family to SE Florida. The kids were teenagers then and he saw retirement staring him in the face; so they adopted Cathi instead !~! The lifestyle afforded by the Tropics suited him well. He loved the water, swimming, fishing, scuba-diving, humidity, heat, girls in bikinis, boat drinks, Jimmy Buffett. Unfortunately, Betty struggled with the humidity so they moved west to help his parents with his sister Denise who had Muscular Dystrophy and used a wheelchair for mobility. Betty filled that need for many years in Dallas Oregon where the family owned numerous small businesses.

Russ’s health took a turn for the worse in Aug 1987 when he suffered a stroke and had to retire from the Mini-Mart, U-Haul, laundromat he and Betty owned in Dallas. He never drove after that and became a familiar sight around town on his bicycle. Some years later they relocated to the desert in AZ but that was difficult for Betty who suffered in the heat. When it became apparent that Russ and Betty were aging and would need help, they moved near Tony and Jodell's family in Park Hill OK where they shared T & J's land for the last decade of their lives.

He is survived by three of his five children, Mike (Cindy) of Leicester NC, Lynda Otvos (Ormond) of SF Bay Area, and Cathi McDonnell (Adam) of Park Hill OK, and their families as well as the families of Teri and Tony. He has thirteen grandkids and numerous great-grandchildren.

Russ was predeceased by his wife Betty, daughter Teri Ann Tarleton, son Tony Halliger, and granddaughter Dana Halliger.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to each individual’s favorite charity. Russ donated his body to science—perhaps some significant research will be advanced by his last selfless gesture.



  1. How did the rest of family feel about the obit? Did they like it? I hope so cause you can feel the <3 in it. Love you.

  2. Cathi was thrilled and i have not heard anything from anyone else. Silence implies consent...

  3. My condolences on the loss of your dad. You wrote a beautiful obit. I really get a sense of the kind of person he was. Russell John is my brother's name. I've always liked that.