Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Russell T. Graham


September 3, 2020

Russell T. Graham died August 29, 2020, in Spokane, Washington, of complications of MS. Russell was born July 1, 1949, in Sundance, Wyoming, where he lived with his parents, Tom and Signe and two sisters, Janice and Karen.

Russell knew early in his life that he wanted to be a forester and started working for the Forest Service in Sundance in 1965. He attended the University of Montana and received his BS in Forestry in 1972 and started working for the Forest Service in Darby, Montana.

He completed a CEFES program with the Forest Service, where he took classes at the University of Idaho and Washington State University to complete an MS degree. In 1975, he was offered a research scientist position at the Forest Sciences Lab in Moscow, Idaho.

In 1982, he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho and began a highly success research career. He published over 200 research papers and wrote chapters in a variety of books.

Over the years, he was an invited speaker at numerous conferences and attended the IUOFRO (international forestry meeting) in Berlin. He was also the Scientist in Charge of the Priest River Experimental Forest in Priest River, Idaho.

He managed and protected the forest and the historic buildings, most of them being built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s. He received many awards from the Forest Service and other groups who recognized his contributions to environmental information and to science. While forestry was his passion, he also enjoyed woodworking and spent many hours working on projects in his shop.

In 1970, Russell married Kathy Felderman in Sundance. During their marriage they traveled extensively to Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Tahiti, New Zealand, Canada and to all 50 states.

In the 1980s, he was diagnosed with MS and he struggled with that disease the rest of his life. He progressed from using a cane to a wheelchair over the years and in the last few years used a power chair.

While it was physically disabling, it didn’t hinder his work. He was often praised for his ability to produce critical documents despite his health issues. Some of his most important projects were: the Columbia Basis project, the Hayman (Colorado) Fire, goshawk research and Black Hills National Forest.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy; his sister, Karen of Dundee, Oregon; his niece, LeAnn of Kentucky; his nephew who lives with his family in Australia; and his brother-in-law, Ralph of Kentucky. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Janice.

In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to the University of Idaho Forestry School or to the Moscow Fire/EMT Department. There will be no formal service now and his ashes will be dispersed at his favorite places.


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