Russell "Rusty" Rein, recently left this mortal life unexpectedly to join his Lord and his musical icons Waylon, Merle, Johnny and more. Rusty succumbed to COVID-19 in Florida on November 9, at the much too young age of 53.
Rusty was born in Shakopee on June 17, 1967, the fourth son of Robert and Mary Sue Rein (Klingelhut). Rusty attended Shakopee public schools and at an early age showed traits that became ingrained in his personality and character as he grew and matured into adulthood. Family members and his many friends who grew to love him knew him as one of the most kind, caring and compassionate individuals one could hope to know. As a son, brother, relative or friend, Rusty could always be counted on. He was always there to lend a helping hand and do whatever he could to make your day brighter with his good cheer outlook on life. His optimism and positive attitude enabled him to surmount more than his fair share of obstacles that life presented him. In his early teens, and much to the surprise of his older siblings, he taught himself to play the guitar. His love of country music soon led to him playing solo gigs at Johnny Abel's Bar at the ripe age of 15. His passion for music led Rusty and his friend Doug Hamilton to produce a local TV program called Country Vid Clips that took the teenagers on trips to Nashville where the boys filmed interviews with his idol, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard among other country greats. Their work was recognized nationally when Billboard Magazine, the world's most influential music magazine, awarded them a Top 5 Rank for Best Regional Program, presented to them in Los Angeles. Rusty was also active in addressing social issues.
At graduation, Shakopee High School recognized Rusty with an award for his role in the formation of the school's chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD). After attending St. Cloud State College, Rusty decided to leave the Minnesota winters behind for the hurricanes of Florida. It should be noted, however, that there were many occasions when he gleefully posted sunny Florida beach scenes on Facebook, to tweak friends and family in Minnesota, who were suffering through blizzards and Arctic blasts. On visits back home, Rusty often entertained friends and patrons of the Pullman Club in Shakopee when he played gigs there. In the past decade Rusty really hit his musical stride with Hard Country Rooster, an American roots band he helped form and served as lead vocalist and front man, that became popular around Tampa. You can see Rusty perform with the band by checking out Hard Country Rooster on Facebook.
Rusty will fondly be remembered and not forgotten by those whose lives he touched. Rusty is survived by his parents, Mary Sue and Robert, brothers Tim, Scott(Julie) and Ted, along with numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Please note that a tribute to Rusty is being developed by the family and will be set up on My Keeper Memorial website (www.mykeeper.com). Friends and family will be able to view the content and contribute their own comments, stories, videos and pictures as they choose. For details, contact John Klingelhut at firstname.lastname@example.org.