Obituaries » Russel Dennis Hiles III
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August 21, 1942 - August 17, 2020
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Russel Dennis Hiles, III was born in Pittsburgh, Pennylvania on August 21, 1942. He passed away August 17, 2020 at his Palm Desert home surrounded by loved ones.
He was raised in Culver City and graduated from Culver City High School in 1960. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo in 1969 and from California Western School of Law in 1973. He served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 4 years at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
He worked as a DDA for San Bernardino County DA’s Office from 1973-1977 before practicing privately for the law firms of Rose, Klein and Marias (1977-1978), Brumer, Rubin & Hiles (1978-1988) and Stone & Hiles (1988-2007). A trial lawyer’s lawyer, Russ would go on to try over 238 cases to verdicts (52 as a DDA and 186 as a private attorney). In 2007, he formed Hiles|Borgeson, a law firm that would manage insurance bad faith actions against Farmer’s Insurance Company, nationwide. He would later form the ReAlign Group in 2012. He would act as CEO to both companies.
Russ was the proud father of four children, Princess, Boo Boo, Cupcake and Guy. His pride for his children and their accomplishments knew no end. He loved being their Dad, especially on Saturday mornings when he morphed into their soccer coach and served as a soccer referee/youth soccer commissioner for the Beverly Hills AYSO. Throughout their lives, he would happily spare no expense when it came to their success and happiness.
He enjoyed sailing, a passion which began in childhood after he righted a small sailboat that had been forced to turtle in a lake in Oregon. He would join the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey later in life and sail numerous regattas to distant ports. He was also Captain of two boats, Tenacious and Fair Dealings, names that exemplified his personality and character.
When he wasn’t sailing, he was behind his Nikon camera. Three years of his life were spent traveling our country, photographing over 70,000 images, many of which went into a book he authored and published entitled, “We Are One, A Photographic Celebration of Diversity in America.” His book was both a creative triumph for him and a personally transformative experience.
A Francophile at heart, he travelled extensively throughout France and was privately tutored in French for years while living in Los Angeles.
Russel Hiles was a brilliant, articulate, kind and generous man who beleived in enriching other people’s lives, encouraging and supporting their personal visions, without doubt, hesitation or placing demands.
Immensely proud of his Jewish religion, identity and traditions, he supported many Jewish causes and charities. He was a member of Temple Immanuel in Los Angeles and Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs.
Beginning in 2011, he became a self-described “Jew on a Mission.” He said he would not stop until his beloved Mel (whom he had known for 22 years) would marry him, even if it meant driving roundtrip every weekday from Palm Springs to his office in Glendale. And he did that, every day, for 4 years. When people told him he was crazy, he replied, “You’ve never been in love.” When Russ and Mel married in 2013, he became a loving step-father to Mel’s daughter, Noelle. Together, they traveled across oceans, traversed continents, chased golf balls, spent summers at his ranch near Bend, Oregon and made their home in the Coachella Valley.
He is survived, and will be greatly missed, by his beloved wife, Melanie “Mel” Roe; three daugters, Alison Siebers (Kevin), Shelby Setter (Mike) and Teri Woschnik (Evan) and one son, Bennett Hiles (Alice); a step-daughter, Noelle Johnson; and 7 grand-children (who would call him “Saba”), Anna, Will and Caroline Siebers, Jacob and Lucas Setter, and Wallis and Jonah Hiles.
A Private graveside service will be held at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.