Baker City, 1974-2021
Raleigh David Rust, 46, of Baker City, was found deceased in the Powder River near Hughes Lane, on the morning of June 1, 2021.
His earthly body was cremated on June 3. For those who loved and treasured Raleigh, you are invited to join his friends and family to an informal memorial potluck on Saturday, June 12 at noon at Geiser-Pollman Park. We will be celebrating Raleigh’s life with fond memories and tall tales of high adventure.
Raleigh was born on Nov. 10, 1974, at Prineville to Michael Rust and Carla Densley Rust. His doctor made a special effort to come back from elk camp to deliver him, while wearing a dirty wool jacket and muddy boots, with no time to even gown up. Raleigh wanted out now, and so it happened. His father was also elk hunting, but could not be reached. He entered this earth just as dramatically as he left it. We will all miss him, his family said. He was Mike and Carla’s fourth and last child.
Shortly after birth, he needed emergency surgery to save his life. At nine months of age, we discovered that his little feet were a bit crooked, so the doctor tried to straighten them with plaster casts. That cute little baby decided he was not going to have any of that. He made everybody in the household so concerned, that we had to soak him in a bathtub, and chip off the plaster casts as quickly as we could, because we could not get a doctor’s appointment that day. Raleigh had a very strong will, and if Raleigh wasn’t happy, then no one was going to be happy.
Ral was a cute, adorable, sweet baby, the apple of our eye, and was always trying to be funny. There was never a boring moment when he was around. He was always so busy and active, flitting around like a little mosquito, always trying to outwit and compete with his older brothers and sister. He was fun and entertaining, and people liked to be around him. He loved to make up funny stories and jokes, and always had an answer to your questions, even if he really didn’t know the answer.
Raleigh attended Brooklyn and South Baker Elementary schools in Baker. He was very good in mathematics and English and was a smart child. The older siblings didn’t like it when Raleigh would outsmart them, and it would sometimes get him in trouble with them, so his mother gave him the cute nickname of “Raleigh David Trouble Rust.” He soon learned the meaning of pay-backs. He was far too young to be doing the things that the older children were doing, but our little Ral never accepted that fact. He was always at the bottom of the pecking order. He held on, got tough, and grew bigger and stronger. He became a very accomplished and talented person, a go-getter and a doer. Moss didn’t grow under his feet. His natural talents were endless.
Raleigh suffered greatly in his early years, not having a great family life after his father remarried, leading to addiction and mental illness, causing even more suffering that always haunted him, and could not be escaped. He was very confused and frightened the last several months, weeks, and days of his life. He had become homeless, yet through it all, he was a good and generous person, sometimes recognizing family and sometimes not.
At age 13 or 14, Raleigh was able to go live with his older brother, James, at the Rust family home with his grandparents for a while. There he blossomed, being in a better and lovingly safe environment. Raleigh attended McKenzie Junior High School, and made lots of friends. Raleigh’s charismatic charm and good looks made him really popular with the ladies. Raleigh never had a problem attracting girls.
When Ral was 17, he and his brother James formed a band, Noctaphobia. He became an amazing lead singer, and front man for the band. Ral loved Guns ’N Roses, and Alice in Chains back then. He would rehearse and write songs with his brother often. They played original heavy rock and blues music. When he wasn’t rocking with the band, he was down at the Vida swimming hole, or working. The summer of 1991, the band came to Baker and played two gigs during Miners Jubilee. Raleigh’s love for music stayed with him his whole life, and got him through the bad spells, and enhanced the good times.
Raleigh’s last endeavor was learning the piano. When he became homeless, the only place to keep his instruments safe was a storage unit. The instruments were safe, but not being able to use them was a great sadness for him. Now, his boys have them and he would have liked that very much.
Ral liked his job at White Water Ranch, when he was a kid on the McKenzie River, and had a blast riding his red Honda motorcycle everywhere. His name is probably still scratched into the fender of the old tractor.
Eight or nine years ago, Raleigh became interested in the Eastern Oregon Theater group. He loved going to practice and interacting with his peers. He was in one play.
Survivors include his wife, Nicole Kolina Carlson; his children, Michael James Rust and Matthew David Rust, with their mother, Tina Hovis, Nevaeh Kaylana Rust with her mother, Nicole Carlson, Lillian (Lilly) Diane Rust, whose mother is Lorriann Schouviller; his siblings, Brian Michael Rust, Barbara Lee Rust Borello, and James Andrew Rust; his stepbrothers, Troy and Toby Holland; his father, Michael LaVern Rust; his mother, Carla Densley Rust Koplein; his grandmother, Lillian Densley; numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, as well as many friends. Raleigh loved each and every one dearly.
Raleigh was preceded in death by grandparents, Raleigh and Marjory Rust, and Doyle Glenn Densely; his cousin, Cathy Gough; and his nephew, Taran Moothart.
For those who would like to make a memorial contribution in honor of Ral, the family suggests the Powder River Music Review for the concerts held at the Powder River Pavilion (Raleigh would have loved that), through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Online condolences can be made at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com.