Herbert “Rusty” Averill, 88, passed away July 23 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Rusty was born July 21, 1927 to Herbert and Wilhelmina Averill in Philadelphia, Pa. At the age of 17, Rusty enlisted in the Navy where he did several tours that took him around the world. During his time in the Navy, he and his crew were sent to the Bikini Atoll Islands where they endured the nuclear testing in the 1940s.
Rusty loved being out on the ocean so much that after his time in the Navy ended, he joined ranks with the Merchant Marines. After a failed first marriage, he wed Tiffany Joann (Morning Star) Zimmerman in 1950. Rusty had a son from his first marriage and three sons and five daughters with Tiffany. After the Merchant Marines, he and Tiffany settled down in Upper Darby, Pa. They later relocated to Delaware, where Rusty became a long-haul truck driver, which later led to him hauling large boats. He loved this type of work, but the long hours of driving eventually took their toll on his back. He retired from truck driving after having back surgery.
Rusty went on to work for a lock and key company. In 1978, Rusty and Tiffany decided to leave Delaware and head out West. They ended up settling in Las Vegas, Nev., where Rusty had his own locksmith company for a while. He then decided to do some security work, and this change in careers landed him a job as Deputy Constable with the Constable’s Office in Clark County, North Las Vegas. In a few years’ time, he was promoted to Chief Deputy Constable, which is where he worked until a botched back surgery in 1997 left him no alternative but to retire from the profession he loved.
Rusty and Tiffany continued to live in Las Vegas. They bought their first home together in 1998. Sadly, it was in this very home that Tiffany was murdered in 2001 during a home invasion robbery. However, Rusty decided to continue living there because, “It was the first home he and his wife had ever purchased together.”
From the time of his wife’s murder up until March 2015, Rusty was robbed in his home four more times, with the last time resulting in him being hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg. His family had tried several times to encourage him to move, but he loved Las Vegas and didn’t want to leave a place that had become such a big part of his life. It was late 2014 to early 2015 that he actually started considering moving up to Harney County to live with his daughter and her husband (Cheryl and Glenn Jakubowski of Burns). While Rusty was in the hospital after the last robbery, with the help of his youngest daughter and her spouse, Pamela West and Judy Rhodes, of Coventry, Conn., Cheryl Jakubowski made the trip to Las Vegas to pack up his belongings and move him to Burns. Rusty remained in the hospital at the time of Cheryl’s departure from Las Vegas because he was in no shape at that time to make the long drive.
After being bounced around from the hospital to skilled nursing facilities, Rusty’s health began to rapidly decline. With the help of her best friend, Amzel Prokop, Cheryl made another trip down to Las Vegas in a rented van with a hospital bed in the back with the intention of transporting Rusty up to Harney District Hospital. However, after battling back and forth with the hospital staff about whether or not he would be able to endure the trip, the hospital made the decision that Rusty’s health was too serious for him to be moved, especially for a 12- to 14-hour drive. The hospital staff felt that Rusty’s time was short, so they made the decision to place him in a hospice facility. He passed away less than a week later, just two days after his 88th birthday.
Throughout his life, Rusty enjoyed many hobbies, including model trains, building model ships, and spending precious time with his family. He was always the jokester and loved making people laugh.
Rusty is survived by his son, John Averill and wife, Joyce, of Indianola, Iowa; son, Bruce Averill of Las Vegas, Nev.; daughter, Tiffany Bartolomei and husband, Tony of Smyrna, Del.; son, Ronald Averill of Townsend, Del.; daughter, Susan Durnan of Middletown, Del.; daughter, Cheryl Jakubowski and husband, Glenn, of Burns; daughter, Pamela West and spouse, Judy Rhodes of Coventry, Conn.; grandson, Wayne R. Averill of Delaware; granddaughter, Erin Berglund-Burns of Louisiana; granddaughter, Amy George of Maryland; granddaughter, Christine Colvin-Chun of Hawaii; grandson, Corey Wainikainen of Florida; grandson, Sean Averill of Delaware; granddaughter, Jennifer Averill of Delaware; grandson, Sean Averill of Iowa; and granddaughter, Susan Averill of Iowa; as well as numerous great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Tiffany Joann (Morning Star) Zimmerman Averill; son, Brett Averill; and daughter, Beverly “Jan” Averill.
For those wishing to make a donation in Rusty’s name, an account has been set up at Umpqua Bank to help the family with final expenses.