Russell, as his family called him, was born in the very recently opened Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna to Alfred (Al) and Joan Anderson. Al was born and raised to the age of 14 in Rio Dell, then moved to Honeydew where he maintained a lifelong connection. Joan was born and raised in Ferndale, and has lived the last 46 years in the Sierra foothills, mostly in Grass Valley.

Russell was from European heritage. All of his immigrating ancestors did so between 1860 and 1900, and all of them came to specifically Humboldt County. Those local ancestral names included: Norrie, McGrath, Genzoli, Minetta, Toroni, Hansen, Petersen and Anderson.

Russell’s family moved to the first new house built on Renner Drive in Fortuna when he was just seven months old. He lived at that house until he graduated from Fortuna Union High School in 1976.

When Russell was three years old he contracted a serious case of spinal meningitis. Although UCSF doctors had braced his parents for the worst possible outcome, he recovered. However, Russell believed the effects of that invasive experience, which he remembered well, lasted his entire life.

The highlights/thrills of Russell’s youth revolved around BB guns, bicycles, motorcycles, hunting, fishing, camping and staging adolescent antics with his Renner Drive friends Mike, Dennis, and Steve. His family maintained a long time summer connection with the Southern Humboldt town of Phillipsville where Russell spent countless sunny days exploring the redwoods and swimming in the river with the friends he made there.

In 1972 Russell entered high school in Fortuna. His new classmate Robert Wilson learned of Russell’s real first name and started calling him George; that name stuck, and from that point on he became George. He forever credited Robert with changing his name.

Upon graduation from high school in 1976, George followed his father’s construction trail to the small town of Grantsville, Utah. It was Grantsville that George called home for the remainder of his life. George, encouraged by his father, joined the National Guard, then ultimately transitioned to active duty U.S. Army Station at Fort Polk, Louisiana where he gained experience operating and maintaining heavy equipment as his father did. He was discharged in 1982.

After the service George returned to Grantsville and found work at the salt plants, and other jobs often having to do with operating heavy equipment or some type of construction. He early on made several good friends in Grantsville that lasted many decades. One of George’s fondest endeavors was raising horses with his friend Alan Johnson. His family knew this brought him great pride and joy as he often talked about his horses Buster, 50/50, Lightening and Thunder. George, on occasions, brought his friends Alan and Todd to California for site seeing and fishing on his father’s boat out of Humboldt Bay where they loaded up on salmon for the return trip home to share with their family and friends. George was very happy to give his friends that Pacific Ocean experience, as they spoke very fondly of those epic adventures. George’s family from afar will be forever grateful to Ernie and Vicky Matthews and children for embracing kindness towards George over the past 40 years, giving him so many great memories, including him on their family gatherings and looking after him, especially over the past few years as George was winding down.

George passed away in his home in Grantsville from natural causes. Proceeding him in death: his father Al Anderson (1935-2012), his grandfather Fred Anderson (1880-1940), his grandfather George Hansen (1898-1958), his grandmother Marie Petersen Anderson Meland (1909-2006), and her husband Leonard Meland (1916-1992), and his grandmother Margaret Toroni Hansen Townsend (1914-2007), and her husband Bob Townsend (1916-2005), with whom George Russell had a special connection.

George Russell leaves behind: his mother Joan Hansen Anderson, his stepmother Jan Anderson, his sister Kim Anderson Hinkson and her husband Terry, his brother Leonard Anderson, his former sister-in-law Lynn Anderson, his nieces Kate Hinkson Fults and her husband Frank, Rachel Hinkson Howard and her husband Troy, Jesse Hinkson Belnap and her husband Levi, Hannah Hinkson Jones and her husband Eric, Emily Hinkson and Sara Anderson, nephew Charlie Anderson and his wife Carrie, and 20 great nieces and nephews, plus his 11 year old black labs Bear and Bessie.

George Russell will be buried at a graveside service very near his Marine Corps father in the military section of Ocean View Cemetery on March 3, 2 p.m. reception following at the Monday Club in Fortuna. All are welcome.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of George Russell Anderson’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email