Russ “Bogie” Bogar was a best friend to both Ronnie and myself. The three of us were inseparable during our time on the USS Sailfish – an old Diesel Electric Submarine that operated in the Pacific back in the early 1970’s. We all three managed to stay close friends throughout our lives, and there wasn’t a week that went by when the three of us would at least talk with each other over the phone. He was a “Hard charger” who knew no limits. 200% was always the norm. The following obituary was written by his son Shon….
DEBORGIA – Russ “Bogie” Bogar died as he lived on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. We should all be so lucky. Those who knew him loved him, but not as much as he loved those he knew. And those who knew him are the luckiest people alive.
He was a western Montana boy through and through, notwithstanding his birth at Fairchild Air Force Base. Everyone has faults, and his was being born in Washington. His parents, Jack and Laura Bogar, recognized the error, and moved to Superior when he was a boy. Western Montana will never be the same, and for that change we will be forever grateful.
He enlisted in the Navy after high school and was a diesel boat sailor’s sailor. In an age of comfortable nuclear power, he lived in the engine room of an old and outdated diesel submarine running Cold War missions that never happened, missions the new boats could not complete. While he later became a diver, and recruited for the regular Navy and the Naval Reserve in Missoula, his days on the USS Sailfish (SS-572) were the days that made him the man we knew.
He married Karlla Kieckbusch on Sept. 18, 1976, in Missoula. Through 37 years, they lived, they loved, they had children, they traveled and she made him a better man (something that was no easy task). Through their life, together, Russ found meaning. He found a meaning to life, a meaning that few can understand, a meaning that we should all be so lucky to find. Or to understand, or feel. For that meaning is what makes us human, and Russ was the most human person we have known.
Russ and Karlla returned to Montana in 2008 and settled in DeBorgia. The word family is an awful big word. Russ and Karlla stretched the meaning of that big word, and made DeBorgia their family. DeBorgia adopted him as the long-lost brother they never knew existed. To Russ, every person was a future friend, and he would help any friend even to his own pain. Russ spoke through his actions. He saw the good in everyone, and cared for those who the rest of us forgot. He never met a stranger.
Russ and Karlla have two children, Shon and Jacie, and a niece-daughter, Savannah. He was, and will forever be, eminently proud of his children, and of the individual relationship he shared with each. His children will cherish the life they learned from him. While he did not live long enough to walk Jacie down the aisle, Shon was lucky to have him there when he married Neysa Gudger. To a man who cherished family, there can be no greater joy than to watch his son marry a great woman. Russ knew that joy.
Russ passed at sunset while elk hunting on the side of a mountain no one should climb with his son, and with his new friend Justin Jahn. Those who knew Russ knew that he loved going places where others would not go. He died of natural causes, and quickly. There is nothing more natural than a man like Russ moving on from a place that he loved, while doing what he loved, to be found by his son. We should all be so lucky. Twelve people hiked in that night to take Russ home, a journey that ended just before sunrise. No one thought of leaving him alone. Family is a very large word indeed, and his family brought him home.
Actions speak louder than words. Russ was a husband, a father, an uncle, an uncle-gramps, a submariner, a diver, a Mason, a volunteer firefighter, postmaster, lifeguard at the Law Enforcement Youth Camp, CASA of the Year for 2012, and much more.
He is survived by Karlla, who he ever loved. His children will be forever proud. His father Jack and recently departed mother Laura will take comfort knowing the man they raised touched so many lives. His sisters Claudia, Jan and Wendy and his brother Roger will always know the love that lived in his heart, as will his countless nieces and nephews. His younger brother Jay also preceded him in passing, and they finished the hunt he started before dancing with their mother.
Russ is also survived by DeBorgia, Mineral County, Missoula and all of western Montana.
The lucky folks who Russ loved will drink a whiskey and celebrate his life at the school house in DeBorgia on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m. All are invited. The dress is casual, and those wearing suits may be turned away. It will not be a funeral. We will celebrate the life of the man who made us better.
Russell Jerome Bogar was 24 with 37 years of experience.