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Old 01-24-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
corbis820
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Default The life and impact of Shovithead

I... am fucking broken. In 2012 I bought a box of parts and some books on a 1975 ironhead and started a search that led me here. Together, we built a motorcycle, but more importantly a friendship. I spent every other Saturday at his shop behind his house for the better part of 2 years building this amazing hunk of metal. At 32, I learned mechanical lessons, life lessons, and Russ lessons. In our time he has seen me finish my bachelors degree in engineering, progress through major milestones of my career, and most recently the death of my mother.

In September he casually worked in a conversation "Oh by the way, I have cancer." Being the hardass and badass that he was, he took a train to Miami got half his liver cut out, and took a train/uber home. I was astounded at the man who begrudges technology using Uber. He stared death in the face and had the attitude of hey if it's my time, its my time. I dig it.

I would love to share story after store about my friendship with Russel. The fact is, Russel passed away this last Sunday and I am fucking broken. I ask for the sake of his family if you had is number, don't call. Don't email. What I would like, if you want, share stories of Russel here and I will deliver.

I can't tell you the impact this man had in my life. I'm sure there are a few of you here who can say the same.

Jason

This was the first time we fired the bike. I knew just to get out of his way and do his thing. Godspeed my friend. Thank you for everything.

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Old 01-24-2019, 05:34 PM   #2
Medyo Bastos
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

Real sorry to hear. He was the first to welcome me to this board.


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Old 01-24-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

I shall miss his advise/comedy.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:21 PM   #4
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Jason, Russell told me about you some time ago. He and I became friends somewhere between 10 and 12 years ago when I got my first sportster. I just found out about this today and am still not sure how to come to terms with it. We had become pretty close, but in the past 4 years I've been so busy running my business I only got by to see him once every 6 months. He helped me start my business by selling me all his heavy equipment tools when he retired and was always the best friend I ever had in my life. He would do anything for you as long as you were truly working to better yourself and never asked or expected a thing in return. Hell he even bought that blazer off me for Patty to drive when I was out of work and paid me to tune it up and do intake gaskets on it. He will surely be missed by many and I'm greatful for our friendship. Here is a pic he emailed me of my youngest daughter and I in his shop back in 2008.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh fuck fuck fuck god damn it nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

I heard not long ago that Shovit was going down. Clearly, he'll be missed bad.

Being dead can't be bad if you're the person doing the dying. It's awful for the people who loved you. You guys, I'm very sorry you're hurting.
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

Crazy thing... I was wondering about him on Saturday. You’re right he will be missed


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Old 01-24-2019, 07:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

I sent him a text on Fri asking how he was doing. No reply.


The true measure of a man is not what he has accomplished, its how people feel when they are gone.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

I've been thinking about him recently and planned on reaching out to him because he hasn't been around and I haven't heard from him.

I knew what he was going through as we have had numerous conversations. He was hard as a rock and not concerned about dying. He wanted no sympathy or anything of the such.

He really loved this board and helping others. He will certainly be missed.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:24 PM   #10
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Russel was a real help to me this summer. I had to tear apart my bike and reassemble it. Lots of things were done wrong throughout the original build. I always felt that i could ask him anything. I would email him almost every couple of days with new questions. From shimming my engine and tranny, replacing a starter clutch spring, to flipping around a belt after trying everything to get it to run true. He was patient and never seemed mind my questions no matter how trivial. He helped me learn a ton. I remeber he seemed very pleased that i was finally burning up some miles and felt I now had a dependable bike. I only got to know him through email, but what i did get to know of him was really good. He was a solid person that i was lucky to have crossed paths with. We need more like him.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

We've lost a true resource on this board. Sad to hear!
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

damn....sad to hear that. pouring one out tonight for him.
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

My sincerest condolences to all! I'm new on this board, but in that short space of time I noticed that he was very well respected on here.
He struck me as a no bullshit type of guy. Which I admire.

Please pass on my condolences to his family too.
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

No NO NO!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe what I'm reading! NOOOOOO

I knew he wasn't well, I that email last year...casually saying things weren't that well.
we been talking daily for the last half of last year.
he helped me lots, I have a bunch of stuff I bought of him currently in a container across the pond... I can't believe he's gone.

I'm devasted. I have no words.

we shared so many stories!!! He knows the story of me and my little girl and last year I sent him a photo of me and her (she's only 7) working on my genny and he told me it was such a good photo that he printed it and put it up in his living room..
I remember how he said Patty (his wife) said I was good looking.. haha that made me laugh!!

In the boxes and boxes of stuff he sent to me he said there would be "surprises" and a "little something" for my little girl.... it was just the way Russ was.
I don't even know what these things are as they are still in a ship.... it will be like having him back once I open those boxes.
I have a full roller I bought off him and a few other bits.... my plans were vague but I think now it all deserves to be put together and be a "Russ parts" chop.

I'm absolutely devastated.
I just want to get on a plane and do something.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:36 AM   #15
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

Former moderator hat on for a sec.

Early in '18, I asked him to come back to the board. Jockey Journal had become a banfest at some point, and as the junior man on the totem pole, I did not have the power to reverse that stuff.

But shovithead never got banned. He just stopped coming here. So I could (and did) ask him to pop over now and again.

He demurred, because he was a crusty old fuckhead...on the outside. But I told him that there were a lot of new-ish young guys who needed help. Your moderator team, in spite of our dashing good looks, was never chosen based on mechanical skill and ability. Yes, it helps, but the ability to get a video to post for someone is far more important than tuning a Super E.

He started showing up. We emailed each other a lot. I knew he had that BT flattie he wanted to get going, so I sent him a feed pump I had layin' around. He sent me back an antique PA license plate, just because he thought it should have a home somewhere. I learned a lot about him. His time in the Navy, his heavy equipment career, his political and social leanings. Russ was a great guy, and a hard worker. He just liked old bikes. With him, you always got more than you gave. As cranky and pissy as he appeared, he was a helpful, caring guy. He fixed far more than he broke.

Or, in other words, he left things nicer than they were when he got here.

I'm going to miss him greatly. Does anyone know if his wife needs any help?

Godspeed, shovithead.
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Old 01-25-2019, 07:02 AM   #16
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I can assure you that Patty will want for nothing. She has aksed for no visitors. As much as I want to go there and hug her, I can’t. They both have been such an amazing force in my life so I am forced to respect those boundaries. I get it.

They had asked not to post anything on “social media” when hospice was called in. I needed a place to “pour my heart out” with people who could share this celebration of Russel’s life. I really wanted this thread to be a place where we get to share those stories. When I get home tonight I really want to tell the story of how Russ became a “secretary” in the Navy. His words, not mine.

I do know that we are all better people for knowing him.
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Old 01-25-2019, 07:53 AM   #17
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I read this news UK time this morning with the heaviest of hearts.

When I first joined the board Russ messaged me directly, told me that I need to learn my shit, stop asking silly questions and to get my shit together. I was taken back by how this gent had literally send me insults to get my ass in gear.

What blossomed from this was three years of daily emails, many many of his stories as Corbis has mentioned, he was a man of the world, his knowledge was unfathomable and he was always funny.

I took five minutes this morning before work and read through some of the emails we have sent to each other since I joined here, it's funny, they started off firm and very to the point until I started to actually get my shit together. At this point it went from being him tutoring me to tails and stories and a very good friendship. I regard and will always regard Russ as a great friend. I always enjoyed his emails which were usually very long winded and he would keep me up to speed with his daily tribulations, how life was and very much how much he hated american politics for all it's worth.

He told me much about his career in the navy and heavy machinery, how his many wives he had over the years had caused him utter chaos and how Patty has been the best thing to ever happen to him.

My heart is broken that I'm not able to ever say goodbye or speak to him again, he knew his way around a BT flatty, and I've never worked on one so without his guidance is may be a bumpy road. I spoke with him about 2/3 weeks ago and he said he wasn't too well, as we all know Russ would never tell you the whole story, he told me about his cancer and illness back in August/September where I was taken back, to which he assured me it wasn't anything serious just had to have half of his liver removed.

He never ever worried or complained and dying didn't bother him, I think he was more worried about leaving Patty on her own. I can't express how much I'll miss his wisdom and his advice.

I have a few small parts he gave me as "Surprises" when buying bits from him. I'll treasure them and keep them on my UL to remember him by.
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Old 01-25-2019, 07:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

here's a contribution to the memory thread, one I remembered when I read above about heavy machinery.

Russ at work before he retired, with his rig. The best truck he have owned, he told me.
he sent me this when we talked about our trucks (as I have a 65 C10 here in the UK)





dammit.
I'm going to miss him and our chats about life. It was crazy how we were so many miles apart but we were so similar and how our values and upbringing were so much the same and similar.
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Old 01-25-2019, 08:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: The life and impact of Shovithead

We have lost another valuable board member and someone who has touched many lives. my sincere condolences, R.I.P.
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Old 01-25-2019, 08:10 AM   #20
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Fuck.
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