Cover photo for Russel Joseph Bouley Jr.'s Obituary
Russel Joseph Bouley Jr. Profile Photo

Russel Joseph Bouley Jr.

July 24, 1931 — June 16, 2024


Russel Joseph Bouley Jr.

Bouley, Russel J.

Russ was born in 1931, the first of five children. He grew up in uptown Hamel and attended a one-room schoolhouse before ultimately graduating from Wayzata High School in 1949. As children, he and his siblings and friends had the run of Hamel, getting into all sorts of mischief. When he was fourteen, he began working at Hamel Lumber, located at the time behind Hamel bank.

In 1952 Russ was drafted by the U.S. Army and shipped off to the front lines of Korea. He never talked much about his war experience, but we know that he saw heavy fighting and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received near Old Baldy in March of 1953. He lost much of his hearing in the battle and was discharged in July of 1953, at the age of 22.

Returning to Hamel, he rejoined Hamel Lumber and reconnected with MaryAnn Thomas. The two married in October of 1954, and soon had Steve and Kurt. When Brenda was born, they moved to their home on Hunter Drive, in which they lived until MaryAnn left for heaven in September of 2017. Love of family was the foundation of Russ’ life.

In the early 1970’s, Russ became full owner of Hamel Lumber. He would share the story of how, after the business was closed by its prior owners, he quickly decided that working in Minneapolis wasn’t for him, so he mortgaged their house, took out a loan of $20,000, and re-opened the Lumber Yard at its original uptown Hamel location. He ran the business until the early 2000s when Steve & Kurt took over.

Russ was an avid golfer, which led to the purchase of a double-wide in Surprise, Arizona in a retirement community called Happy Trails, after the Roy Rogers theme song. Their place was on a street named Lariat where Russ could golf to his heart’s content in the winter months. Russ & MaryAnn made many friends in Happy Trails, and Russ celebrated a couple of hole-in-ones.

Russ was a free spirit with seemingly endless stamina. He thought nothing of putting in a full day’s work, then driving ten hours to board a float plane to fly-in to fish for Walleyes on Carrol Lake in Ontario or to Saskatchewan to hunt with Kurt. He was always up for an adventure.

Russ could be found daily at the Lumber Yard well after signs of dementia became more visible. He helped in the hardware store, socialized with customers, and built many mailbox posts. Eventually he moved to Amira near the Lumber Yard, but he still went to work most days. Up until the day he passed he was out-and-about in the hallways teasing his caregivers at Amira.

 Russ passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 16. He is a loss to his family, his friends, and his community.

Happy Trails Russ!

Preceded in death by wife MaryAnn; siblings Carole Johnson, Glenn Bouley and Eugene Bouley. Survived by children Steve (Bess) Bouley, Kurt (Sandy) Bouley and Brenda (Steve) Sallstrom; nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild; brother Floyd (Karen) Bouley and sister-in-law Margie Bouley. 

Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 AM Tuesday, June 25, 2024 at the Church of St. Anne, 200 Hamel Rd Hamel. Reception and luncheon immediately following Mass. Interment St. Anne’s Cemetery.

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