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I loved him...
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2005-11-15 4:44 pm   Permalink

Count me as one of those who is also very saddened by this news. I was fortunate to be able to meet Rusty this past January at the Hawaiian Inn. I liked him, and I could see some common things between us - how each of us could sit removed from the main central activity, and yet enjoy the ambiance that was being created in the room. He was definitely one of those who had a 'Santa Claus' twinkle of kindness in his eye. My favorite memories of him that weekend were late at night on Daytona Beach, when the tide was low, when Pablus and Rusty were strumming their ukuleles -- right about the time when some of the above photos were taken.

At this past Hukilau, on Friday night, well after the Robert Drasnin performance had ended, I walked over to the Cabana to see what was happening there. Even later into the night, I started to walk around to see what else might be happening. I came across one room with an open door, and from inside the room came the gentle sound of a ukulele - so peaceful when compared to the loud music and conversation at the outdoor bar outside. I walked inside, and sat at the bed - Rusty was there, along with Josh from the Haole Kats. They welcomed me, and motioned for me to sit down - and that is where I stayed for what must have been at least 90 minutes, as the two traded ukulele licks, and as others revolved in and out - it was a highly informal, intimate, and impromptu ukulele instruction forum - the musicians played songs, traded chords, and taught new fingering methods. I felt honored then to be in that room, and feel even more honored now.

Before I walked into that hotel room, I took a few pictures, and I decided to share them with you. They capture a bit of what my memories of Rusty will be like.

Pablus, you did a very good thing by inviting Rusty to the tiki events, and allowing all of us to meet him.

As a final thought, I want to share a quotation which I read recently, and it somehow seems relevant now. It is by Steven Levine ....

"If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, whom would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?"


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2005-11-15 5:58 pm   Permalink

I am very sorry to hear this Paul.

I am thinking of you and his family and friends and I am hoping that the memories of him help you all through the hardest parts of this mourning process.

I feel sad and unfortunate that I never did meet him.

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Haole Kat
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2004
Posts: 271
From: St Petersburg, FL
Posted: 2005-11-15 7:45 pm   Permalink

Wow, Vern. Those pictures were a bit tough to look at for a minute there...That was the last time Russ and I had a chance to hang out.

Could you e-mail me any photos you might have? Thanks, Vern.


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Shell in the Pacific
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 93
From: Point Loma, San Diego
Posted: 2005-11-15 7:45 pm   Permalink

I am so crushed to hear that Rusty has left this world. I only knew him briefly, only too briefly. RugbyMatt and I ate breakfast with the Crazed Mugs one morning at the Cabana, and Rusty made us both feel so welcome. My Crazed Mugs CD has been in the player since Hukilau. It has become one of my most favorites. Knowing I missed the opportunity to have Rusty sign it, breaks my heart more than ever. Sweet dreams, Rusty. Rest well.
Love and Aloha,

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 21, 2004
Posts: 1513
From: calgary
Posted: 2005-11-15 8:49 pm   Permalink

This was given to me at funeral of a good friend , just wanted to share it ....

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effect without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.

All is well.

I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

[ This Message was edited by: rodeotiki 2005-11-19 10:14 ]

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The Sperm Whale
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 23, 2004
Posts: 1553
From: Lakewood California
Posted: 2005-11-15 8:53 pm   Permalink

I really don't know what to say because I never knew Rusty - but I feel really sad anyway!!! I just got to meet Pablus a week ago. I am sorry that you lost such a good friend!! I really really like the Crazed Mugs CD and I wish I could have met Rusty!!! Rest in Peace Rusty

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Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Oct 11, 2005
Posts: 103
From: Orlando, Florida
Posted: 2005-11-15 9:42 pm   Permalink

What a beautiful tribute to the spirit of Rusty. I have no personal memories to share but I feel certain that it is important for TCers to share news that reflects both the joyful and sorrowful moments along life's journey. Thanks for posting Pablus. My thoughts are with you and others during this difficult time.........

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5311
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-11-16 06:53 am   Permalink

A crushing blow... Hukilau, the Hawaiian Inn, the Lagoon Lounge, these things are cool and all, but what I have come to look forward to more than any of it is Pablus and Rusty playing and singing. That's all I need to set it right. In a hotel room, on the beach, in the car... I carry the aloha with me forever. The mana poured forth from him and his uke. I cherish it.

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Koka Nut
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Oct 10, 2005
Posts: 11
From: Tampa, Florida
Posted: 2005-11-17 08:19 am   Permalink

Thank you all for your warm responses. Russ would have been very happy to see that he affected people in such a positive way.

He was a genuinely good person who really cared about other people. When he asked you how you were doing, he really meant it. When he said he hoped you have a good day, he really meant it.

I feel priviledged to have been in a band with him, but more importantly I feel priviledged to be able to call him a friend.

We're all going to miss him.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Posts: 1205
From: Sacramento
Posted: 2005-11-17 09:18 am   Permalink

I just wanted to pay my respects to a great guy I knew only too short a time. Like Shelley said between breakfast and Unga Bunga's late night soiree Rusty impressed me as a truly good soul. I am sure he is reaping those rewards strumming away and looking down upon us all with a smile. Mahalo for letting me know you even if for a little while.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 1140
From: Orlando Florida
Posted: 2005-11-19 09:14 am   Permalink

Very sad. He will be missed. I'm glad I got to know him. I was really looking forward to seeing him at the Hawaiian Inn and talking with him more.
My mother was crushed as well. She still talks about the experiance at Kailugeoffs. She fell in love with you guys and your ukes.
I'm very sorry.
Original Art by
Scott "Flounder" Scheidly


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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 02, 2005
Posts: 24
From: Knoxville, TN
Posted: 2005-11-20 4:39 pm   Permalink

I just met Rusty for the first time in Tampa on our way to this year's Hukilau - actually he picked us up at the airport. We were fortunate enough to get to ride down to Ft. Lauderdale with him and Paul & Scott. I liked him instantly - when we arrived at Pablus studio I was awe struck at the plants around the building and Rusty was gracious enough to show me what was what. He told me all about the things he grew at home. You could tell how much he loved to grow and and how proud he was. I knew of him from times Swanky spent in Florida with Pablus and the gang but I am so glad I got to finally meet him. He was so nice and so very sincere. My thoughts are with you guys... and I feel privileged.

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Hot Lava
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 190
From: Saint Petersburg, FL
Posted: 2006-01-05 9:07 pm   Permalink

I'm just catching up on old posts and I can't believe my eyes.

I got to meet Rusty on International Tiki Day when he, Pablus, and I met and had a jam session. Although we only met briefly, I got the same vibe that everyone else describes here about him.

My heart goes out to his friends and family.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2158
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2008-11-11 3:45 pm   Permalink

It's been a few years now.

Rusty is still missed beyond measure.
I think of him every single day.

One point of good news is that Koka, Diamond Dizzle Darryl and I went into his grove this last year and absolutely cleaned it all out. A few others caught the vision of a renewed grove and helped us out and it looks spectacular much to Rusty's mom's delight. She's 85 now and still as feisty as ever.

Anyway - I appreciate having a forum where people have posted memories and photos (that we grabbed many of for our website) about him and these posts make me feel a lot better at a poignant time.

Many of you who posted on this thread have become very close friends and I'm very thankful for that as well.

Keep living aloha.
I've let myself slip lately and I regret that.

Lots of aloha to you all,

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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2008-11-11 4:25 pm   Permalink


On 2008-11-11 15:45, pablus wrote:
Rusty is still missed beyond measure.
I think of him every single day.

And the memories bring a smile. He is always with us as long we keep the memories alive.

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