Adna ‘Russell’ Heaton
February 24,1937 - January 22, 2021
Adna Russell Heaton Jr. passed away after a 10-year journey with MSA Parkinsonism. Russ was an amazing, loving and talented husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife Linda; two married children, Joan & Gardner; their spouses Andrew and Michelle and four grandchildren, Matt, Owen, Winter, and Jackson.
Family, friends, palliative care and hospice helped him through these last months. He learned to look for the gifts of life and love in each day. Russ said: “Don’t cry because I am gone, sing because I was here”.
Russell was born on February 24, 1937 to Helen & Russell Heaton. He spent his formative years in Poughkeepsie, NY and then attended Middlebury College in Vermont and graduated with a degree in History in 1960.
In 1961 Russell attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. He became the Gunnery Officer aboard the John W. Weeks. After steaming the equivalent of four times around the world he was released from active duty in April 1964.
In 1963 Russell married Deborah Wetmore. They lived in Poughkeepsie, NY where Russ became a partner in Luckey, Waterman & Heaton Inc. Deborah and Russell moved to Vermont and eventually divorced.
Russell married Linda Liston in 1978. In 1999 he retired from Property Management, Inc. Russ and Linda settled in Bayfield, CO to enjoy western sun and snow.
Russell spent 15 years rebuilding their Bayfield home. When maintenance became too much, Russ and Linda moved to an ADA home in the Estancia development.
Russell recently progressed to hospice care and died peacefully at home. Per his wishes, no funeral or memorial will be held.
Donations can be sent to: Mercy Home Health & Hospice of Mercy, 175 Mercado Street, Suite 131, Durango, CO 81301.
THE FOLLOWING IS A BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO RUSS WRITTEN BY A DEAR FRIEND . . .
It is, or should be, our grandest and most audacious pursuit.
In the midst of our everyday. Through and throughout the crashing waves of joy and grief, pulled by the moon of our very existence, to the shores of our souls, we seek purpose. Reason. Identity. We seek ourselves.
At the end of our lives, the ledger of our days will be audited in old photographs, stories, and the resume of our accomplishments.
Those surviving us will, rightfully, attempt to respectfully and lovingly bind the days of our lives into a page numbered account of mortal remembrance.
May they fail. May they, for all the world to see, fall short…as we defy summary. May our photographs depict a young man. An aged one. A boy at the lake…and a rifle shouldered cowboy. A skier. A man of the water. An adventurer and a thinker. May our boot soles know mountain peaks and our eyes know the horizon. May our asses know the cushion of a wing backed chair and our hands hold the Classics. May our religion be fueled by curiosity and our palates be diverse. May there not be a box big enough, or a ribbon long enough, to contain the complexity of our simplicity.
May we leave behind sticky, messy, delicious bites of too many apples. When they clear the table of the dinner party that was us, I hope they find no unused utensil. Empty wine bottles litter the antique buffet, nearby. And I hope the cupboards and pantries are bare. Perhaps Sinatra will faintly croon from a cracking, popping vinyl recording, playing somewhere in the back…that we did it our way.
But above all else, may we have known all that God saw us fit to know. The pain of loss. The disappointment of failure. The joy of friendship, and the hope of humanity. May we have given and received grace…a thousand times over. May we have given our heart to another, and known their touch. In the end, may it be impossible for others to find the words to put us away. Whatever we were, wherever we roamed, however we suffered, rejoiced, sang, danced and loved, may we, one and all, have lived!
A Friday is just a Friday most Fridays. But not this last. With the last of the wine drunk and the last dish used, our eyes wept, our hearts broke…and we rejoiced. Amen to the boy at the lake. The aiming cowboy. The waterman. The downhiller. Farewell curious child. Traveled man. Giver and recipient of grace. Love of her life.
We’ll not put a bow on you, nor box the all that you were. There were a thousand little goodbyes. Those, but a fraction of your lifetime’s hellos. From the darkest places you rose. Time and again. In the end your disease failed to define you. Lesson learned.
Run today wherever you are. Run! Jump! Yell and rejoice. Smell the flowers and sing and be free of its grip. Well done warrior.
It should be our most audacious pursuit. Seems easy enough. But too few see it all the way through. He did. He hurt. He cried. He suffered. He laughed. He loved. He lived!
One of my best friends on earth lost her best friend on Friday. There is no way to write away that kind of pain. It is deep and it is unrelenting. And it shall prove itself but a footnote to a love story…and the grander story of love. God bless them both. Friends to many. Lovers to one another. Livers of life.