Russell R. Spawn, Sr.

Russell R. Spawn, Sr.

January 15, 1928 – May 27, 2021

 He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Lilian Spawn; seven siblings; his wife, Marjorie Spawn; and one grandchild. He is survived by five children: Betty Whitney, Beverly Webster, Terry (Cindy) Spawn, Russell (Patty) Spawn Jr., and Tonya (Mike) Frieze; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Family Graveside Service.  Any memorials on behalf of Russell Spawn, Sr. will be donated in his name to the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS).


            Russell was born on January 15, 1928, in a small farmhouse on the Cheyenne Indian reservation. The nearest town was Lantry, South Dakota. Russell was the youngest of eight children. His father raised work/draft horses and Russell was taught a strong work ethic very early in life. Later, the Spawn family moved to eastern South Dakota, where Russell did most of his growing up around Chester, S.D. When he was 17 years old, he joined the U.S Army, serving from 1946 to 1948.

            After his honorable discharge he came home to Chester and started driving a truck. In 1950 he moved to Casper, Wyoming where he had family and where the truck driving opportunities were better.

            Russell moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 1969. Again, this move was due to his trucking career. Russell loved his family but also loved his career. Actually, it wasn’t just a career, it was his life. Over the years he received many safe driving awards and recognition from customers and trucking companies. His friendships in the trucking industry stretched all over the United States. In 1998 he was awarded the honor of the South Dakota Truck Driver of the year for having accumulated a verified 6.5 million safe driving miles and 50 years of work in the industry.

            In 2002 Russell sold his last truck and tried retirement. Roughly one month later he found himself back on the road helping friends out by driving their trucks so they could have vacations.  He also worked for the local Kenworth dealership delivering trucks for them.

            In January of 2008, a week before his 80th birthday, he made his last trip in a semi-truck. He had decided it was time. His eyes just weren’t any good in the snow storms anymore.

            Russell was finally home for good. He was very proud that he’d been in all of the lower 48 states and all of the Canadian providences and had even delivered tractors to old Mexico.

            A very modest man, Russell didn’t talk a lot about himself. He loved making new friends and hearing their stories.  He enjoyed his friends, his breakfast crowd at Billy’s Cafe, his old truck club buddies from ATHS, and spending time with his grandkids right up to the very end.



  • william cox Posted May 30, 2021 6:07 am

    rest in peace mr. spawn sr.

    • Keith de marteleare Posted May 30, 2021 6:16 pm

      You have our sympathy at the loss of a very respected man in the trucking community he will be missed by many!!

  • Michael Gaffin Posted May 30, 2021 7:49 am

    My condolences are sent to Mr. Spawns family. May his memory and lessons about life he taught to his family and friends be a blessing to all who knew him.

  • Bill and Roxanne Harris Posted May 30, 2021 7:53 am

    A life well lived and to be proud of.
    Russ Sr. Is a man that other men would always look up to and any truck driver would admire for his example of the way a truck driver should be.
    The driver community is going to miss this Icon.

  • Tim Braunschweig Posted May 30, 2021 8:05 am

    Russell was a mentor to many people, including me. He was always a very positive person, and you just couldn’t be in a bad mood around him! It was an honor and a privilege to be able to call him a friend!

  • Frederick lathrop Posted May 30, 2021 8:27 am

    Rest in peace my friend,you will always be in my heart,in my thoughts,and always in my memories always much love for you and your family thank you for all you gave me. Miss you

  • Ed and Cindy Kaps Posted May 30, 2021 9:05 am

    Sorry to hear about your Dad Russell. Know our thoughts are with you and family.

  • Suzi Craft Posted May 30, 2021 10:48 am

    It was my privilege to call you friend for 25 years. Happy trails my friend

  • john deter Posted May 30, 2021 5:08 pm


  • KAREN JANOUSEK Posted May 31, 2021 9:58 am

    RIP Russell. My prayers and sympathy go out to all the family.

  • Hank and Carlleen Sturdivant Posted June 1, 2021 7:49 am

    We are sending our sincere condolences to you and your family. We will continue to pray for you that God will be with you and your family during this time.

  • Mike and Bev Callaghan Posted June 1, 2021 11:34 pm

    Rest easy my Friend, we will always have you in our thoughts and prayers. Russell it was a privilege to call you my friend while spending many miles and hours working together. Your mentorship made me a better person and an overall success in the business you loved so much. We are blessed for the time we spent with you and I know our paths will cross sometime on Gods highway. You may be gone but you will not be forgotten as you have a special place in both our hearts.

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