Russ Sichley was blessed to have two 100th birthday parties. He celebrated on his actual birthday, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, with his family. Then his Village family held a big celebration on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Village Retirement Center in Gresham, Ore. The recreation room was filled as his fellow residents came to wish him well.
Russ was born in Colome, S.D., to Russell and Lu Lu Sichley, Oct. 28, 1918. He was the seventh child of 12: six girls and six boys.
He grew up in Beatrice, Neb., attending school and working various jobs. In the sixth grade he was the marble champion and had the notice in the local paper. He won a small prize and a lapel pin.
Russ loved golf and was a caddy starting about age 10. The pay was good: 25 cents an hour for nine holes. There was a very nice banker who would give him 50 cents for nine holes. When the banker won, Russ got a $5 bill — a lot of money in those days. Russ used his money to purchase school clothes.
Another job was at the roller skate rink, where he earned 10 cents per night putting skates on the kids.
Every summer Russ would travel with his father and uncle setting up their Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and glider. They went up to Minnesota, then south to Texas. They worked very hard catching as many carnivals, fairs and picnics as they could.
He also worked for the Works Progress Administration and the National Youth Administration. They worked in the parks mowing grass and splitting wood. He got a good paying job at Steel Tansk earning 35 cents per hour. He told his family, “I don’t know what to do with all this money.”
In 1943 Russ joined the Navy and was on the destroyer USS Lange. He proudly served until January 1946.
In March 1946 Russ married Mary Langley in Marysville, Kan. Their first daughter, Linda, was born in 1947. They decided to move out west to the Portland, Ore., area. They eventually built their home and raised four more children: Sandy, Scott, Patsy and Cindy.
Cindy passed away in 1961. Soon after her passing, the family became Seventh-day Adventists. At this time Russ worked for the city of Portland on maintenance and road repair. He worked there about 18 years. He later retired from United Medical Laboratory.
His doctor told Russ to stay busy in retirement, and Russ did just that. He and Mary started working at Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) in the early 1960s and eventually contributed more than 24,000 hours. They also volunteered more than 8,000 hours at Portland Adventist Hospital. Russ loved driving the trucks and did thousands of pickups of food, clothing and household items.
Russ' family offers a couple of words to describe him: “totally unselfish” and “always giving” to others. Russ has lived at the Village for 36 years and considers everyone there his "family.” Knowing Russ is a joy and delight.