American Patriotic 10

Russell James Nauta

October 5, 1946 ~ January 25, 2022 (age 75)


Russell James Nauta, 75, of Colorado Springs CO passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 25, 2022 at the end of his earthly journey and battle with many health issues.

Russell (aka Russ, Rusty, Bear and Boppy) was born October 5, 1946 in Grand Haven MI to Willem and Elora Jane (Lyttle) Nauta, and was the youngest of their two sons. Big Brother Bill of Butte MT survives. Russ was a cousin to Buffalo Bill Cody and Clara Barton by way of his mother’s family.

Russell was enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1967 where he served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was Ranger and Airborne qualified and while serving in an infantry unit was awarded a Bronze Star with V device, three Purple Hearts, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry; 1st and 3rd Class. After his discharge, he moved to CA.

Russ graduated from Chico State College in CA with a degree in geography, and owned and operated a number of travel agencies in northern CA before teaching Travel and Tourism, Geography and Astronomy at Colorado Mountain College, Leadville CO and Northeast Junior College, Sterling CO.

Russ enjoyed climbing, scuba diving, shooting, web page designing, and had a pilot’s license. While living in CA he became a bee keeper and received his first back injury while working with the bees.

While in Leadville, Russ met Karen Cooper, a widowed, single mom who was operating a small travel agency and she eventually served on the T&T advisory board. Their relationship began Dec. 27, 1990 when Russ was looking for a getaway over Christmas break. He didn’t leave town, but they began a 31-year relationship which included marriage on Dec. 27, 2001. They celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on Dec. 27, 2021 by sharing red velvet cake in his room at the rehab center. They enjoyed numerous cruises, but favorites were the cruises to Alaska in July 2017 and their last cruise in Oct. 2021 when Russ reached his 75th birthday.

After his time in Sterling, Russ joined Karen and Kim in Woodland Park CO. While there, he had numerous businesses and built and maintained webpages for those businesses and others. Some of his projects included Solo Buddy Adventure Tours and PTSD Support. Most recently he helped with web pages for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, James M. Selix Chapter 423, Fountain CO and The Dumpsite Ministry in Nakuru, Kenya.

During his life, Russ was always a teacher and had a heart for helping soldiers and veterans as they worked through the difficulties of PTSD. Some still reach out to him to this day.

Russ is survived by his wife, Karen Cooper of Colorado Springs CO; stepdaughter, Kim (Tim) LaRue; granddaughters, Hope, Mercy, Lois and Cherish of Colorado Springs CO; brother, William Nauta of Butte MT; brother-in-law, Bill (Diana) Van Voorst of Georgetown CO; sister-in-law, Julie Hamilton, of Kuna ID; and close friends, Les and Jerry who kept him company and in trouble over the years, along with many large fur kids. He is preceded in death by his parents; half-sister, Catherine; and in-laws, Howard, Lois, Ron and Jim Van Voorst

Memorial Service will be held Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 2:00 pm in Woodland Park CO at Mountain View United Methodist Church, 1101 Rampart Range Road. CHEERFUL COLORS PLEASE

Inurnment will be at Pikes Peak National Cemetery, Colorado Springs CO at a later date.

In Lieu of flowers, please make a donation to:

Mt. Carmel Veteran's Service Center
530 Communication Cir,
Colorado Springs CO 80905

Please designate to: Behavioral Health and Wellness in the name of Russell Nauta.

Special thanks to the staff at Elevated Family Care, Colorado Springs Pulmonary Care, Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, HealthCare Resort, Human Touch and Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care for the care they provided to Russell over the last months.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Russell, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
February 19, 2022

2:00 PM
Mountain View United Methodist Church, Woodland Park