In Memory

Russ M. Rector

Russ M. Rector

From Curt Busse:

Russ has been a close friend of mine since third grade. He had skipped a grade and was still one of the smartest kids in our class - not to mention one of the funniest and most caring. Thank you Russ for a lifetime of wonderful memories. You were an all-time great and then some. There are a couple of photos of Russ on my Paly70 page. There will be a Celebration of Life in memory of Russ tentatively on May 11, 2019in the East Bay. I'll provide more details when they become available.

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04/25/19 12:44 PM #13    

Nancy Henderson (Peterson)

I have a vivid memory of the moment when "Rusty" joined our second grade class mid-year at Walter Hays. Mrs. Morris, the teacher, introduced him and explained that he was skipping a grade. It soon became clear that he was quite smart. So I think he must have skipped the latter part of first grade and early part of second grade. I also remember that he lived next door to Betsy Hale (Haile?), whose house was where our Brownie troop would meet. Once, during a Brownie swim party in the backyard, Rusty "spied" on us over the fence, with a bright smile, and it made the party even more fun. He seemed like a very integral part of our class, and I'm sorry to learn that he has passed.

04/25/19 05:36 PM #14    

Curt Busse

Nancy, you have quite a memory!  I joined Rusty (as he was known at Walter Hays) more than once spying on pool parties at the Haehl residence.  Although we could stand on a ladder and peer over the fence we more often climbed up that huge redwood tree just inside the Rector property overlooking the pool.  Fun times.   As I recall, Betsy later transferred to Castilleja.

04/25/19 10:44 PM #15    

Ken Krebs

I am sorry to hear of Rusty's passing. We were pretty good friends at Walter Hays. To this day he is the only person who ever punched me in the face - 6th grade and I have no recollection why (I imagine I deserved it). And for those who took German with him at Jordan who can forget his regular and audible passings of gas much to Herr Leznoff's consternation (though with time even he came to laugh about it). Rusty was a character, a good and funny guy. I know that for those who stayed close to him - Curt Busse comes immediately to mind - his passing is a genuine loss. My condolences to all who loved him. I know he will be missed.

04/27/19 04:58 PM #16    

Glenn Miller

Very sad to hear about Russ. Many, many good memories of Russ at Walter Hays and Jordan. A sharp mind and great sense of humor. Russ in French class at Jordan (was it Ms. Dalsant or Ms. French) is a memory not easily forgotten. Very much enjoyed catching up with Russ at Rosatti's at the 40 reunion - What an iconic figure! 

04/27/19 05:18 PM #17    

Arlene S. Wong

So sorry to hear of Rusty's passing.

The Rectors lived on Edith Street in Berkeley, about 4 doors away from us. Our fathers worked together as well. My brother Larry and I played with Rusty, and he was over the top active, brash, funny and really gutsy.  Our street had a level portion, where we lived; the Rectors lived on the slope.   I was scared to death of riding in a wagon, on a scooter of bike down that hill.  He thought nothing of it (yes, there were a few crashes, but he always got up).  

Our families both moved to Palo Alto eventually, but in different parts of town.  I laughed when reading of other's descriptions of Rusty, sounds like he continued to motor around a Bball court like a bowling ball, as he always did when we were really young.  He hit me on the head with a shovel, but didn't do anything to make me smarter!  Will miss him...

04/28/19 10:36 AM #18    

Ken Stalder

I’ll remember Rusty for his brilliant mind and how he focused it on sports, history, geography, food and many other topics.  His interest in sports in general, and Cal sports in particular, were well known.  He was a Life Master of bridge, several times over, I believe. We got to know each other better post-college, and began playing bridge weekly starting in 1977 with two other friends.  Though the 4 of us eventually moved to different parts of the country we occasionally got together for epic bridge weekends, which also included eating lots of beef and drinking fine wine while the tv played whatever sports were of interest.  We met in Wilmington, NC last October for 5 days of bridge and aforementioned food and fun.  Rusty was loyal to his friends and his causes to the end.  He will be sorely missed.  RIP Rusty.

05/08/19 07:40 AM #19    

Rob Wilson

Rusty and I were pals from Walter Hays days when we used to build dangerous forts in the vacant lot next to our house on Lowell.  Then we formed armies and had after school dirt clod wars until Rusty came up gushing blood from catching a cold on the chin.    He always kept his genius close to the vest, preferring to make people laugh.  I do not know when we drifted apart -- cliques swallowed us up and it was one of those unwitting separations that come with high school.  I'm sad about that;  he was a great friend when we were small, with whom I should have had the wisdom to stay close like I should with so many of you.  Different drummers, I guess.  

05/09/19 11:24 AM #20    

Sarah McKenna (Broadbent)

In 1969 my crazy family moved nextdoor to Rusty on Webster. I didn't know Rusty well, but he was always so kind to my 10 years younger little sister, Wendy. Their home was a sanctuary for her when the crazy spilled out of our house. I really never went back after college, but she was stuck there. The Rectors treated her with such kindness. 

05/09/19 03:46 PM #21    

Rob Chase

I didn't know Rusty well, but I think that every moment I was around him, I enjoyed his company and intelligent humor.  When I saw the post about his death, the first thought that came into my head was, "Not Rusty".  He is one of those people who you think will always be there.  From the many comments of those who knew him well, I think it is clear he will always be with us.   

05/12/19 01:11 PM #22    

Kevin Moore


I too was in the Walter Hays class that Rusty skipped into. My memory is that until then, Curt (Busse) was the champion at flash cards around the world, but Rusty immediately took over that honor. We were all kind of blown away.

My memory of German class at Jordan was Rusty saying something about reading a magazine, and Herr Leznoff asking him what magazine, to which Rusty replied, "Spiele Knabe".

Fun, brilliant guy.

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