Russell John Mlinar, 86, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with ties to the Grenora area, passed away Tuesday morning, August 25, 2020 at his home, surrounded by family in Chapel Hill, NC.
Born in 1934 in Brainerd, MN, the middle child of Walter John and Florence Edna (Persson) Mlinar, he grew up working in his father’s filling station and repair shop in Pine Center, MN, learning mechanical skills from a young age. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, where he met his future wife, Evelyn Jean Mehus of Grenora, ND. They married in 1958 and had three children, all of whom remember fondly their many summers at the family farm in Good Luck Township and weekends in Pine Center where they enjoyed projects such as building a garden tractor from salvaged parts.
During the Korean conflict Russell enlisted in the National Guard, transferring to the USAF to design oil pipelines and learn to fly.
From 1960 until his retirement, Russell oversaw the design of injection molds used in the manufacture of major appliances for Whirlpool Corporation in Saint Paul, MN, for which he held two patents. After moving to Danville, Kentucky in 1984, Russ and Jean relocated to North Carolina to be closer to family in 2014, where Jean predeceased him the following year.
Russell is survived by a brother, Jerry, of Bayport, MN; his sons John and Paul of Coon Rapids, MN and Flower Mound, TX; a daughter, Kathryn Baerman, of Chapel Hill, NC; three grandchildren and his cat Leon, an orange tabby. He is to be interred alongside Jean in Grenora, ND.
The Everson Coughlin Funeral Home of Williston is caring for the family.