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December 31, 1994

The end-of-year holiday mailbag always contains a few goodies from old friends and acquaintances, folks we don't get to see very often but who nonetheless are quite close to our hearts. You enjoy the same experience, I'm sure.

One of these was the annual season's greetings from the Russell Chapins, who for years have been residents of Bethesda, Maryland. They recently made his last retirement final by selling their home in Bethesda and purchasing a new one on Amelia Island, Florida. For directions, Russell says just cross the Florida state line and turn left. They're just a little offshore.

Russell is a Red Rock boy. He grew up there and remembers being on the high school debating team when Henry Bellmon was on the Billings high school debating team. Russell served in World War II, then earned a law degree at the University of Oklahoma and came to Perry to practice with Henry Dolezal, whose law office at the time was in a second story location on the north side of the square. Russell and I were both bachelors then and we hooked up in a little tennis competition from time to time on the West Park courts. He usually won. Nevertheless, we became good friends.

When George Howard Wilson of Enid, a Democrat, won the district eight congressional office in 1948, the year Harry S. Truman was elected president, Russell accepted a position as Wilson's secretary and moved to Washington. Rep. Wilson lost his job after only one term, but the U.S. Department of Justice offered Russell a position and he chose to remain in D.C. Along about the same time he met a young lady who was secretary to a congressman from Texas, and in due time Helen became his bride. Together they produced two sons, Clark and Craig, and a daughter, Carol.

During his career with the Justice Department, Russell was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and he was involved in some important legislation with far-reaching national significance. Upon reaching retirement age, he stepped down but was quickly drawn to an independent "think tank" where he spent several more years in research, contemplation and writing. As I say, he now has entered into a new phase of life, meaning retirement again, and that has made it possible for Helen and Russell to relocate to the friendly, warmer Florida climate. Helen completed a year as state president of the PEO sisterhood in Maryland before they decided to make the move.

We have had occasion in the past to enjoy their hospitality while visiting in the Washington area, and now we must plan a trip to Florida. With Russell's directions, we can't miss the place.