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City mourns the loss of UPFD Battalion Chief Rusty Massey

February 19, 2016

Russell Benton Massey

Russell Benton Massey “Rusty,” 45, of Commerce passed away on February 11 following a hard fought battle with kidney cancer.  Born and raised in Terrell, Texas by his parents Donald and Barbara Massey, Rusty graduated from Terrell High School where he participated in baseball and the Fighting Tiger Band from 1985 to 1988.

Rusty fulfilled a lifelong dream in June 1993 when he began his career in public service as a member of the Athens Fire Department.  In July 1999 he became a member of the University Park Fire Department where he served with pride and honor for 16 years.  During his 22 years in the fire service, Rusty built lifelong friendships with his firehouse brothers and sisters, displayed the utmost respect for his colleagues, and demonstrated compassion for every patient he treated as a paramedic.

Rusty’s personal accomplishments with the University Park Fire Department are impressive.  In 2005, he volunteered and was deployed to New Orleans for several weeks on a search and rescue team to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In 2007, Rusty graduated from Trinity Valley Community College with an Associate Degree of Fire Science.  Rusty was promoted to C-shift Battalion Chief in 2008, a position where he excelled.  He held many certifications with the Texas Commission of Fire Protection during his tenure with the department: Master Fire Fighter, Master Fire Investigator, Master Fire Inspector, Fire Instructor, Fire Officer I, Fire Officer II, Incident Safety Officer, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Hazardous Materials Incident Commander.  

Rusty made several contributions that strengthened the rich tradition of the University Park Fire Department.  Rusty was a driving force behind the creation and implementation of the University Park Fire Department Honor Guard and Pipe and Drums Band.

A lifelong fan of University of Texas, Rusty is survived by his loving wife, JoAnn Izzarelli of Commerce, Texas, children David, Jamie, Brandon and wife Sharla.  Grandchildren Brantley, Aubree, Gracie, Kylie, Kasadie, and Hailey.  Parents Dutch and Barbara Massey of Terrell Texas, sister Linda Manning and husband Michael, nephews Sean and Dustin Harvey, niece Lexie Manning,  grandmother Jackie Downing and numerous aunts, uncles and other relatives.

UPDATE: Noon February, 19

A funeral service was held on Friday, February 19 at Park Cities Baptist Church, at 3933 Northwest Highway.  A procession from the Park Cities Baptist Church to Restland Cemetery occurred immediately following the service.

Life Tributes page - Restland
Traffic Delays on Northwest Highway - Friday, February 19 (8 a.m to 11:45 a.m)

Traffic Delays on Northwest Highway map 

  • 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  -   The right hand lane of eastbound Northwest Highway will be closed to traffic to allow vehicles/trucks from area fire departments to park near the church and participate in the procession to Restland following the funeral service.  (See Reserved Parking Map)
  • 11:30 a.m. -   Immediately following the funeral service, fire department trucks parked on Northwest Highway will depart from the church for Restland using the North Dallas Tollway and 635.  These vehicles will have a police escort.  DPD will close both sides of Northwest Highway in front of the church for several minutes. During this time northbound travel on Pickwick will also be blocked.  (See Funeral Procession Map)