Russell David Griner passed away on Oct. 8, 2019, after battling throat cancer and the side effects of its treatment. He was 70.
He was born April 19, 1949, to Glenn and Ellie Griner, and grew up in San Francisco, Calif. Ellie owned a bakery in San Francisco, where Russ learned everything he knew about baking, and for those who knew him, well, we all probably have an extra five pounds on us from all the pies he’d made for friends and family. Russ described himself as being dealt a good hand, being lucky enough to grow up with both parents, as well as a brother and sister.
In 1968, Russ joined the Air Force as a jet engine technician (mechanic), working on F-100 Super Saber Fighters in Vietnam. He served for four years before being honorably discharged and eventually moving to Trinity County, where his brother George lived. George and Russ spent lots of time on George’s mining claim up Canyon Creek and Russ fell in love with the area. He loved to spend his time backpacking, kayaking, boating and riding dirt bikes all over the Trinity River and the back roads. He enjoyed nights camped out on the lake, fishing, and spending time with his beloved dogs.
Russ was a beautifully, talented piano player, baker and quite the jokester. His sense of humor was memorable, a little perverted, too, but he always aimed to crack a smile or get a laugh out of you.
He was a hell of a mechanic and often remembered for his willingness to stop what he was doing to change a motorcycle tire, or fix anything big or small, for any kid in Trinity County. He was one of the most generous people on this planet, and always enjoyed helping others.
In 2003, he married his first and only wife, Joy Sims Griner. For years they worked together at the “Banana Belt” building, doing small engine repair and real estate, before both retiring and enjoying the serenity of their home in Trinity Center with their chickens, dogs and various horses. In the past couple years, Russell decided to sell appliances, and most recently, opened Meadow’s Ice Cream Parlor to honor a close friend’s daughter who passed in a Florida high school shooting (Meadow Jade Pollack).
Russ loved this country and believed in the power of the people. If anyone has been into the Banana Belt before, they’ve heard him preach about the Brown Act and Bagley Keen Act. He was passionate about both and advocating for a government that serves its people. If you haven’t heard of either, he’d encourage you to look them up.
Brandon and Megan wish to express their heartfelt appreciation to Tony Sharpe, and all of Trinity Hospital staff, for the excellent care of Russell in his final days. We were comforted by Tony’s kind, sensitive support for both Russell’s physical and spiritual well-being. An additional thank you to Bill and Cheryl Fisher of Trinity Alps Funeral Home for their patience, compassion, and dedication to their work.
Survivors include his wife, Joy Sims Griner; stepson Brandon Scalzo (Megan); nephews Doug and Dave Parks; and a host of friends and community members, whom he treated as family, that will all miss him dearly.
Russ was preceded in death by his siblings, George and Wendy, and parents, Glenn and Ellie Griner.
A memorial service will be held at noon Saturday, Oct. 26, at the North Fork Grange Hall, 131 Dutch Creek Road, Junction City. A celebration of life to follow, and guests are welcome to stay as long as they please. Food will be provided, but desserts, photos and all the great memories of Russ are welcomed and highly encouraged.
Joy will be leading a processional starting at the Banana Belt at 11 a.m., and welcomes any and all to join.