Cover photo for Russell Grabinger's Obituary
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Russell Grabinger

February 7, 1935 — December 13, 2023

Fargo, ND

Russell Grabinger


Russell A. Grabinger, 88, of Fargo, ND, died Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at Bethany on 42nd in Fargo. 

Russell Andrew Grabinger was born 02-07-1935 to Edith (Borgen) and Sylvester Grabinger. Russell grew up in Turtle Lake, ND. Russell’s mother passed away when he was five years old. He and his older brother and sister found quite a bit of trouble throughout some of their unsupervised times! He was given the nickname “Naughty Russell.” Till the end, Russell had that “Naughty Russell” sparkle in his eye. Russell’s dad married Verna (Tiezzi) and he was gifted with two additional brothers.

Russell graduated from Turtle Lake High School in 1954. During the later years of high school Russell met the love of his life, Janice (Jan) Just. They dated for two years, were engaged for two years, and were married for 67 ½ years. Russell joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, CA. He did two tours on the USS Epping Forest during his four years in the Navy. He often told stories of his adventures while stationed near Japan, and he had a skunk tattoo to show for it!

Son Scott was born while in San Diego. After the Navy years, Russell returned to North Dakota and earned a college degree in business education from Minot State University. Daughter Beth was born while in Minot. Russell’s first teaching job was in Killdeer, ND. After a short time there, Russell took a job at Mandan High School. He completed a summer program at the University of North Dakota earning a master’s degree in counseling and worked as a guidance counselor at Mandan High. Son Cory was born while living in Mandan. Russell retired from teaching after 32 years.

During summer months, Russell had a variety of experiences including working with a Head Start program, painting houses, building an addition onto his home, and doing beautiful woodworking. He loved fishing, hunting, and camping.

Russ and Jan moved to Fargo in 2015 to be closer to family. He looked forward to Friday night suppers out with family. Over the last several years, Russell had Parkinson’s disease and more recently, Parkinson’s related dementia. Even just a couple of weeks before passing, Russell enjoyed going out for a lunch of burger and fries. Following a fall which caused a compression fracture in his spine, Russell’s health deteriorated quickly. He passed in his sleep.

Russell was loved by all, including the many students he worked with over the years. He will always be remembered for his faith, kindness, patience, sense of humor, wit, and many talents. The grandkids will especially remember him feigning sickness to stay home from church on Christmas Eve and sneakily checking out his gifts. He denied it emphatically!

Russell is survived by his wife Jan; son Scott, daughter Beth (Dale), and son Cory (Shannon); grandchildren Andrew (Becca), Alyx, Sarah (James), Luke (Alex), Kendel, and Carter; great-grandchildren Jackson, Dexter, Maggie, and Parker; sister Shirley, brother Scott (Jill), brother Brent (Marsha), sister-in-law Peggy (Pat), sister-in-law Donna, and brother-in-law Clyde (Clarice); many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, stepmother, mother- and father-in-law, brother, two brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, two nephews and a niece.

The family would like to thank the wonderful and caring staff at Bethany on 42nd, in both the Gables assisted living and the skilled nursing areas.

Memorials may be given to Lighthouse Church, Fargo or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Visitation will be Wednesday, December 27, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., followed by the memorial service at 11:00 a.m., at Lighthouse Church, Fargo, ND.

A link to the livestream of the service can be found here

Interment will be at Fargo National Cemetery.




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Past Services


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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