Russell Burt Peck was born on June 21, 1933 in Oakland, CA to father Clinton and mother Russell. Russ, then known as “Burt,” grew up with his siblings Clint, Virginia, Nancy and Jim and attended public schools in Oakland. Russ conquered polio at an early age, and his fighting spirit lasted his entire lifetime -- even up to his final hours. Russ then went on to attend Stanford University and was a member of ROTC. Before graduating, he took a leave from student life to serve in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant on location in Karlsruhe, Germany, and worked in the Department of Engineering to help rebuild the country in the aftermath of WWII. While there, he met and married his first wife, Suzanne.
He and Suzanne left Karlsruhe in 1958 and their first child Melanie was born in 1959 in Berkeley, CA. That same year, Russ finished his last quarter and graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. They went on to have three more children: David in 1960, Kim in 1962 and Kristan in 1969. The family moved to Los Altos Hills, CA in 1965 where he lived until 1982. He met and married his second wife, Nadya, in 1992.
Starting in 1961, Russ was first an employee and then a partner in Peck & Hiller Company, a structural concrete contractor. Peck & Hiller’s work includes many notable commercial buildings in the Bay Area and elsewhere, including the Moscone Center, the San Jose Convention Center, and the complete rebuild of the Stanford Football Stadium begun in November 2005 and completed in record time. He was elected to and served in leadership for the Associated General Contractors (AGC). Russ was also a frequent guest lecturer at Stanford University.
Russ was a longtime resident of Los Altos Hills (and later Los Altos), and enjoyed a busy family life. He was an accomplished cook and an expert at the BBQ, often entertaining extended family and friends. He was adventurous and enjoyed countless family vacations, camping trips, deep sea fishing in Mazatlán, trips to the Pacific NW and annual beach vacations to Aptos, CA. He went on to enjoy many worldwide travels with his wife Nadya. Russ also enjoyed clamming, fresh oysters and the salt air at his second home at Lynn Point, WA.
Russ died peacefully in the early morning hours on April 30, 2021, having suffered from advanced dementia for several years prior. He was cared for at Atria in Walnut Creek and at Lafayette Heights. The family’s heartfelt thanks go out to all of his caregivers, including to his nephew Jon Peck for his selfless efforts on behalf of his uncle.
Russ is survived by his wife Nadya, daughter Melanie, son David and his wife Ann, daughter Kim and her husband Vince, daughter Kristan and her husband Luis, step-daughter Dasha and her husband David, and by his grandchildren: Finley and Galena Graham, Sawyer and Andrew Peck, Annika and Natalie Vawter, Sofia and Ben Torres, and Elena and Alex Robuchon. He is also survived by his first wife Suzanne. Donations in Russ’ memory may be made to the Sempervirens Fund to help preserve and protect California’s majestic coast redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, where Russ and his family spent many happy times camping with family friends at Big Basin State Park. Please visit their website at: sempervirens.org.