We were heartbroken to read of Russ Spencer’s death. We felt Nick Welsh’s article did a beautiful job illuminating Russ’s sparkling qualities, while gently acknowledging that he also had personal challenges.

Of hundreds of hours I spent with Russ — one of the first of many images that came to mind was when Russ proudly took the stage at the Lobero Theatre after the world debut of his wonderful documentary film Hana Surf Girls. As applause rang out during the closing credits, Russ was beaming as he motioned toward Monyca Byrne Wickey and Lipoa Kahaleuahi in the audience — the Hawaiian natives who were the subjects of his film — to join him on stage. Russ stepped to the side because he wanted these shy athletes take in the audience’s ovation.

This was true Russ, bringing the passion of his creativity as a writer and filmmaker to his love of celebrating and sharing the varied richness of life’s experiences and the people he delightedly discovered.

For so many of us in this community he will always be missed and never forgotten.

I am hoping to read very soon of a community celebration of this sweet, gentle, kind, talented caring man.


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