Russell “Skip” McNees, 83, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Atlantic Specialty Care, surrounded by his family.
Russell Edward McNees was born on December 17, 1935, on the farm belonging to his grandparents, William and Cora Keim, near Dow City, Iowa. He was the third child born to George Eldon and Ethel Mae (Keim) McNees. His family moved to a farm east of Bedford in 1936, and later to the family farm near Gravity, in 1940. He grew up with two sisters and a brother, and didn’t have access to electricity at the home until he was a teenager. He was given the opportunity to learn to fly from the family’s farm hand and picked up on it quickly; not without a few close calls, though. Russ attended Washington Township Country School and graduated from Gravity High School in 1954. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army in January of 1955. He served with the 16th Ordnance Company stationed in Taequ, Korea. After his honorable discharge, he moved to Colorado, joined the Colorado National Guard, and started working in the wheat business harvesting all over the United States. He later attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville and majored in accounting; numbers being something that always came easy to him. A job opening at the United States Postal Service Terminal in Council Bluffs, Iowa, led to the start of a 38-year career.
On July 4, 1960, he reunited with former classmate, Julia Brown, at the Bedford Fourth of July celebration and the couple later married on June 25, 1961, in Gravity, Iowa. The couple lived and started their family in Council Bluffs and later made Atlantic home in January of 1966, after being transferred to the Atlantic Post Office. Russ’s duties at the post office ranged from sorting mail on trains to being a clerk and carrier. He also was officer-in-charge at the Bridgewater Post Office for a short time. He retired in 1998, and continued working part-time for Roland Funeral Service, Brink Flower Shop, and his son’s roofing business.
Russ and Julia looked forward to taking trips to Colorado, attending the Iowa State Fair and nights out at the Redwood Restaurant. The couple was always up for taking a spin on the dance floor whether it be lessons or dances at the Elks. Trips to the casino with Julia were always memorable; most of the time he was limited to the buffet area only as it seemed he was a jinx when he stepped on the casino floor. Gathering with friends and family for games and cards, especially Pinochle, was always something he enjoyed.
He was an avid coin collector and reader; reading anything he could get his hands on, and enjoyed a good crossword puzzle. Russ loved the change of seasons that Iowa offered and was outdoors any chance he could get, feeding the birds and squirrels and keeping his lawn looking top notch. He was a lifelong fan of baseball and instilled this passion into his children and grandchildren. He would catch a St. Louis Cardinals game anyway he could, whether it be in person, listening to the radio, or on TV.
Russ was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Elks Lodge #445, the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine, and a 61-year member and former treasurer of Pymosa Masonic Lodge #271. His service to his country was always something he took great pride in and was active with the Atlantic Color Guard, Gravity American Legion Post #578, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3415 in Atlantic.
Russ was giving of himself, always looking out for others and volunteering for various community events, delivering Meals on Wheels, or donating a total of 28 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross. He became a friend to all he met, and you maybe even got to hear one of his jokes; referred to by his children as “corny dad jokes.” His smile, only outdone by his hair, was radiant and something most remember. His smile was even bigger when his children and grandchildren were around. The love and pride he had for his family poured out in his actions. He loved family get-togethers and his grandchildren’s various activities. Russ was a family man and an exceptional Grandpa.
He loved his God, his family and his country!
Russ is survived by his wife of 58 years, Julia of Atlantic; sons Mark (Bobbi) McNees of Atlantic and Dale (Rachel) McNees of Land O' Lakes, Florida; daughter Lisa (Matthew) Richards of Berkeley, California; grandchildren Ian McNees, Maren (Travis) Kinney, Lauren McNees, Colin McNees, and twins Olivia & Jacob McNees; sisters Sandra Ujlaky and Barb (Bob) Chepak; sister-in-law Martha McNees; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He is preceded in death by his parents George and Ethel McNees; sister in infancy Lois Marie McNees; brother George McNees; and parents-in-law Glenn and Hazel Brown.
Open visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m., Sunday at Roland Funeral Home. A Masonic service will be held at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, September 29, 2019, at Roland Funeral Home followed by visitation with the family present from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, September 30, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church in Atlantic. Burial, with military honors by the Atlantic Color Guard, will be held in the Atlantic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family for later designation to the Atlantic First United Methodist Church, Pymosa Masonic Lodge #271, Shriners Hospital for Children, Atlantic Elks Lodge #445, and the Atlantic Fire Department.
Roland Funeral Service is caring for Russ’s family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.rolandfuneralservice.com.
Russell “Skip” McNees
December 17, 1935 - September 26, 2019
Died at the age of 83 Years, 9 Months & 9 Days
10:30 a.m., Monday, September 30, 2019
First United Methodist Church - Atlantic, Iowa
Reverend Dean McPherson
Reverend Dr. Lanette Plambeck
“Be Still, My Soul” recorded by David Archuleta
“On Eagle’s Wings”
“When I Get Where I Am Going”
by Jessica Jacobsen
“Go Rest High on That Mountain” recorded by Vince Gill
HONORARY CASKET BEARERS
Bob & Marilyn Vernon
Gary & Lucy Newton
Dick & Carol Hensley
Atlantic Cemetery - Atlantic, Iowa
Atlantic Color Guard
Gravity American Legion Post #578
The family invites you to join them for a luncheon in the
fellowship hall following service at the cemetery.