Russell John DeBuf passed away June 20th, 2023 in his home in Harlowton, Montana.
Russ was born on June 22, 1957 in Harlowton to Alfons and Georgia DeBuf. He was the youngest of three children (Judy and Maxine). The family owned and operated a ranch (Alfons DeBuf Ranch) outside of Judith Gap on the south edge of the Little Snowy Mountains.
Russ attended Judith Gap School from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 1975. During his school years he was a vital part of operations working tirelessly on the ranch. He spent his free time racing around in his sports cars, and riding dirt bikes around the surrounding mountains where he also enjoyed hunting.
In 1976 he married Beverly Barkhoff and they moved into a separate home on the ranch. Soon after they were blessed with their first son Monte, and two years later with a beautiful daughter, Misty. Beverly and Russ decided to go their separate ways and divorced in 1980.
In 1984 Russ married Jeana Zehnle in Lewistown. In 1986 their son Spencer was born. Around the same time, they moved to the Blue Creek area south of Billings where they built a home on a beautiful twenty acres. They were blessed with their last child, Nathan, in 1991. During this time, Russ attended and completed architectural drafting school at Montana State University Billings College of Technology and then pursued a career in architectural drafting.
As a family they enjoyed boating and camping at Deadman’s Basin and Yellowtail Dam. Towing the kids around on the tubes and skis was a highlight for Russ. As time went on, they spent more time camping and hunting together in the Little Belt Mountains and surrounding areas on ATVs and motorcycles. As Spencer and Nathan grew older, they started competing in motocross races throughout the state. Russ absolutely loved watching his boys compete and helping them along the way. He spent any extra free time enjoying woodworking in his workshop, remodeling and updating the house, and tending to the landscaping on the property.
Russ was blessed with four grandchildren: Felicia, Angela, Christina, and David. He fully embraced the grandfather role, opening his heart and home at every opportunity. Stays at Grandpa’s home were always welcomed whether they be short or extended. He cherished the time he was able to spend with each and every one of them.
Russ loved the outdoors, but when fall and winter came, he embraced his other passion – cheering whole-heartedly for the Denver Broncos, and he instilled that passion in his children. Birthday and Christmas shopping was easy – as long as it had something to do with the Broncos!
Over time, Russ and Jeana decided to go their separate ways and divorced in 2011. As Russ and his beloved dog Zodie grew older and slowed down, his family continued to be his pride and joy. He cherished his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren for whom his love was unconditional.
Russ is survived by his three sons; Monte, Spencer, and Nathan; stepson Brandon, daughter Misty, granddaughters Felicia, Angela, and Christina; grandson David, great-granddaughters Miley, Anastasia, Payton, Peach, and Emiliana; great-grandson Ryan; his sister Judy; his nieces Vicki and Heidi; and his nephews Travis and Bobby.
He was preceded in death by his parents Alfons and Georgia, his sister Maxine, and his nephew Joseph.
Services will be held Wednesday, June 28th at 11:00 a.m. at Perkins Funeral Home in Harlowton with committal to follow in the Harlowton Catholic Cemetery. A reception will be held at Barkys Bar in Harlowton after the committal. Friends are asked to make memorials to the charity of their choice and they may be left with the Perkins Funeral Home, PO Box 313 Harlowton, MT 59036. Condolences for the family may be posted on-line at www.perkinsfuneralandcremation.com