Obituary of Russell Alan Pope Sr.
Russell Alan Pope Sr., 67, of Soledad, CA, passed away Monday, March 4, 2019, of complications of Alzheimer’s Disease.
He was born in Paris, France on February 24, 1952 to Dorothy and Robert Pope. As an active military family, they were able to live and travel all over Europe, then Maryland in the U.S. before finally landing in California to stay. Here, he met and married his high school sweetheart, Nora Lane. Russ and Nora were married in 1970 and built a life, eventually raising three children together.
Russ had a brief enlistment in the U.S. Army and then worked for Sears & Roebuck for a few years until beginning his career with the California Department of Corrections in 1980. At the Department of Corrections, he was respected and thought of as fair by all he worked with. He was proud to have been one of a small group who wrote the protocol for employee post-trauma and hostage negotiations that is implemented across state facilities and federal prison agencies and taught to FBI instructors. He retired from the state as a Captain in 2008.
Outside of work, Russ loved and valued family above all else, and spending time with his grandkids was one of his favorite things to do. He loved to be outdoors, and his hobbies included fly fishing, canoeing, sailing, and taking long walks in the redwoods or on the beach, and he never stopped collecting rocks in his pockets on his adventures. He loved listening to music of all kinds. He loved flying and was an avid motorcyclist with a love of Triumphs in particular, and was a member of the American Legion Riders Association. Russ was an animal lover, especially dogs, and was a big contributor to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He never lost his love for travel, and after retirement was able to take trips to places like Ireland in 2011 and the Grand Canyon in 2014 and had a tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in various locations around the country each year with his wife and brother-in-law.
Russ was also a very spiritual person and a life-long religious scholar. He was raised Southern Baptist, and converted to Catholicism as an adult, and enjoyed studying Judaism extensively. With the Catholic church, he was a eucharistic minister, an RCIA teacher, and an active member of the Knights of Columbus.
Following his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Russ became active in the Alzheimer’s Association, participating every year in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s until this last year when his disease had progressed enough to prevent him from participating.
Russ was preceded in death by his father, Ret. Col. Robert F. Pope in 1999, and his mother, Dorothy E. Pope in 2006. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nora Pope, his sister, Elizabeth Leahy, and brothers Robert Pope, Steven Pope, and David Pope; son, Russ Jr. (Jennifer), and daughters, Jennifer (Kari) and Lisa (Aaron); his grandchildren, Kellye, Erin, Raymond, Dominic, Blaize and Lorna; and great-grandson, Theodore.
There will be a private family celebration of his life.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).