Russell T. Sharp, 73, of Oroville most recently and a longtime resident of Galt, passed away peacefully at the Oroville Hospital on Sept. 10, 2020. He was born, Jan. 24, 1947, in Lodi to Thomas and Bertha Sharp from Galt.
Russell grew up and attended school in Galt and Elk Grove before attending CSU Stanislaus. He was in college when he enlisted into the U.S. Army and eventually was sent to Vietnam. He often told stories of what it was like and how he felt aboard that Naval ship sailing underneath the S.F. Golden Gate Bridge for Vietnam and saying ‘Goodbye’ to his beloved California.
His bravery and commitment during the Vietnam War earned him the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device, two Overseas Service Bars, Sharpshooter-rifle and the Vietnam Service Medal. Russell left Vietnam in April 1968 and was later honorably discharged from the Army in 1969 and returned once more to his beloved Sacramento Valley.
Once back in California, Russell briefly attended an experimental college in Davis, worked at various jobs, which led him to the State of California where he worked for a few years. Deciding he more enjoyed working outdoors, using some of the diesel mechanic skills he learned and trained for in the Army, he left his state job for welding and more engineering type jobs. Once he nurtured his new passion, he just kept learning more skills, which led him to more iron and steel work, eventually leading him to another passion, proudly joining the union Shop IronWorkers Local #790 where he became a shop steward and was very active in organizing iron/steel shops all throughout California from the early 80s until 2002 when he then worked for and joined the Operating Engineers Local #3 as an inspector until his retirement in 2012.
So much of Russell’s work can still be found in high-rises in Sacramento, Oakland/East Bay, San Francisco, in bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland Bay Bridge and the Carquinez Bridge, to name a few. Some of the most notable and famous work that he proudly created was the gate/ironwork he did at the S.F. Giants’ new stadium, PacBell Park, which is now Oracle Park, and can still be seen.
And, with even greater pride for Russell was teaching his newly walking son Dalton to run the bases after the Sunday Giants’ games, starting with Candlestick Park; secondly was while attending the Giants’ games and hearing his son shout in excitement when a ball was hit and landed on or near his ‘Dad’s’ gate or handrails or other ironwork he knew to be made by his Dad.
Sadly, Russell received the diagnosis of P.T.S.D. and bone cancer that began a hard journey with Mather V.A. doctors to finally be rated 100% disabled from the direct exposure of Agent Orange while in Vietnam, which led to his early medical retirement, only to later be diagnosed with dementia.
Russell loved to camp out, was an avid fisherman and hunter who beamed with pride and joy that his son Dalton loved doing all of those fun things with him. His son’s maternal relatives are of the Konkow-Maidu Tribal members here in California who supported and helped educate his son about his native heritage, traditions, ceremonies, medicine ways and culture with the guidance of Native Elders and a large native community that embraced Russell as well.
Another journey that Russell started with his wife in the 80s was the Road to Recovery to become clean and sober. Russell met and made many lifelong friends on that journey and was able to attend meetings and conferences, helped plan recovery conferences, chaired many meetings and helped facilitate local support groups. Russell took incredible sense of pride in assuring that his son would hopefully only know clean and sober parents, which was accomplished.
Russell is survived by his only child Dalton, his son’s mother Juanita, who he was married to for close to 22 years and with whom he remained good friends even after their divorce in 2001, his sisters Kathy and Sally, stepsister Becky, stepbrother Don, several cousins, nieces and nephews, and many great nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews, and close friends in Oroville. He is also survived by his remaining longtime brother-friends fondly known as the ‘Janey Way Gang’. All his friends in the Native Tribal communities near and far remember Russell fondly and with respect.
He is preceded in death by his parents Tom and Bertha, his stepmothers Elenor and Elsa, his one and only favorite mother-in-law (as Russell called her) Wanda who loved him just as dearly, his father-in-law Cayetano, beloved grandmother-in-law Goldie, stepsister Mary, his maternal grandparents Egbert and Ruby Morse who were a pioneer family settling in Elk Grove, his uncles Elvin Morse and Charlie Sharp, great uncles-in-law Harold Cook and Samuel Cook, beloved cousins Bobby Rose and Jeff Morse whom he loved as brothers, and cousin Drew Morse; also, cousin-in-law and brother-in-arms Thomas Yiamkis, cousin/sister-in-law Donna Yiamkis Palmer and all those Angels, including his two Spirit Babies that went on before him and are now welcoming Russell home with their utmost love, along with the gracious caring, healing love of his Creator.
A traditional one-year memorial honoring and ceremony will be held for Russell in September 2021 by the Sanchez-Sharp family with the help of their Native Tribal families and friends.
Condolence cards or letters may be sent to Russell’s son, Dalton Sharp, at 600 N. Lincoln Way, #5051, Galt, CA 95632.