In Memory of





Obituary for Raymond Hubert Rust Jr.

Rush Springs: Raymond Hubert Rust Jr, 85, passed away Thursday, October 12, 2023 in Chico, California.

A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday October 28th at 10:00 a.m. at the Rush Springs High School Auditorium. Visitation will be held Friday, October 27th from 4:00 p.m until 7:00 p.m at the Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral Home in Rush Springs, and family will be there to meet them. Burial will be at the Westview Cemetery in Rush Springs under the direction of Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral and Cremation Services.

Raymond was welcomed into the world on November 4, 1937 by parents Raymond Hubert Rust, Sr. and Fletius Selena (Wiggington) Rust, in their home at Bennington, Oklahoma. He graduated from Panama High School and went on to attend Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton then Oklahoma State University earning his bachelor's degree in Agriculture Education. Raymond married Iris Merlene Helvey on June 4, 1961, in Pernell, Oklahoma, they celebrated more than 62 years of marriage at the time of his passing.

Raymond began his career as a Vo-Ag teacher in Vian then Westville, Oklahoma a total of five years. While teaching, the local banker recruited him to create a relationship between farmers and bankers. When Cherokee Hills Hardware store came up for sale, Raymond and GB Eagleton made the purchase, beginning a lifetime of his business career.

In 1968 Raymond and Merlene purchased part ownership in the First National Bank of Rush Springs and moved his family across the state for a life in the southern part of Oklahoma. As a banker and educator, he believed in the community and desired to support community members. While working in the bank he formed a partnership, H&R Farms, and purchased property north of Rush Springs. Many peanuts, watermelons, and cattle were produced from the operation. In 1977 Raymond sold his interest in the bank and took on another challenge opening Rush Springs Real Estate which continues to operate today. In 1988 he saw the opportunity to start a new business venture when he started Wheels Express, Inc. This industrial business later expanded with Rush Creek Trucking to haul products for Wheels Express and Rush Springs Tire & Wheel. Based on contacts from his unique businesses Terrapin Tire, LLC in Houston was formed, eventually adding a sales and distribution facility in Lubbock, Texas. Driving the eighteen wheeler for Rush Creek Trucking across the United States and Canada to deliver a variety of tires and wheels gave him the opportunity to have conversations with customers at each stop. He and Merl traveled many miles and were happy visiting family, friends, business associates, or even strangers along the way. He relished the challenge of growing the companies and providing jobs to the community. He never wavered in his desire to teach others or help them succeed and would lend a hand whenever called upon; no project was too big or too small to take an interest. Raymond and Merl opened their home to many family and friends or foreign exchange students for a day, a month, or more. Close to 40 people lived with them over the years.

Raymond was a member of numerous organizations. His involvement in the Rush Springs Lions Club began the summer he moved to town when he was tasked to help with the local festival. He worked tirelessly to support the Lions Club, especially the Watermelon Festival and Rodeo. He had an idea to build a rodeo arena on family property for the community to enjoy, and hours of entertainment happened for him and others there. He was excited to see the young and old enjoy the sport of Rodeos. Over the last 15 years or so, he negotiated the purchase of watermelons for the free watermelon feed and organized melon cutters until recently. He served 40 years at the Grady County Memorial Hospital Board, and with that connection he was instrumental in building the Rush Springs Family Clinic starting with the donation of property to build on.

He never slowed down. "Work hard to play hard" was a way of life, and it showed as he was still active and took part in many outdoor activities. He grew up calf roping and steer wrestling; horses was his favorite sport. He earned his pilot's license in 1968 and would fly with his son and friends as often as possible. Water skiing, snow skiing, or motorcycles filled many holidays and weekends. When he discovered sea-doos were so much fun, he found his favorite place to ride was Caddo Lake in northeast Texas which he referred to as “The Swamp” and wanted everyone to go enjoy that with him. Raymond never met a stranger and could spend hours holding babies, engage in a plethora of conversations at any café, and was always encouraging others to succeed. His optimism never ceased, and he was very proud of the Rush Springs community and proud to call it home for the past 56 years. He touched many lives throughout his lifetime, and his desire to teach others carried on from his original profession as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Survivors include his wife Merlene of the home, daughter, Renee Hoover-Payton and husband, Burt, of Rush Springs, son, Raymond “Rusty” Hubert Rust, III and wife DawnElla, of Nacogdoches, Texas, and Tammy Filippo and husband Gary of Rush Springs. He is survived by six grandchildren, April Payton, Jake Payton and wife Natalia, Blake Hoover and wife Carie, Casey Filippo and wife Heather, Braxton Filippo, and Kamden Filippo, great-grandchildren, Ian and Luke Cano, Ava and Ellis Branch, Wyatt Briner, Emmett & Gavin Filippo, Wolf and River Payton and Milly Hoover. He enjoyed spending time with his siblings and their families. Brother Richard Rust and wife Kareen of Wichita Falls, Texas, three sisters, Rachel Barbee of Spiro, Oklahoma, Loretta Carter and husband Harold of Spiro, Oklahoma, and Betty Long of Hobbs, New Mexico, sister-in-law Yvonne McCarty of Chickasha, brother-in-law Terry Helvey and wife June of Elmore City and a host of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brother-in-laws, Leon Barbee, Ken Long, and Jerrell McCarty, his mother and father-in-law, Vernon and Ruby Helvey, nephew, David Barbee, and nephew, Kyle Davis.

Pallbearers will be his grandchildren: April Payton, Jake Payton, Blake Hoover, Casey Filippo, Braxton Filippo, and Kamden Filippo.

Honorary Pallbearers include his great-grandchildren: Ian Cano and Luke Cano.