Rusty was born on February 9‚ 1980‚ in Bartlesville‚ Oklahoma. He married Billie (Ford) Topping on September 9‚ 2006‚ and Billie was four months pregnant with their firstborn child at the time of Rusty’s death. Rusty Jr. was born on November 5‚ 2008. Rusty looked forward to starting a family and couldn’t have been happier about becoming a father.
He never met a stranger‚ making friends anywhere he went and enjoying their company. His favorite hobby was entering his 2003 Chevy low-rider in car shows‚ and nothing could excite him more than bringing home a trophy. He loved to laugh and have fun and made sure everyone around him was enjoying life with him. He loved and looked forward to taking vacations with his family every year. At the time of his death‚ he was working for the City of Bartlesville as a maintenance worker in the water department. There‚ he was loved by many‚ and everyone looked forward to coming to work because Rusty made it a fun place to be.
Rusty graduated from Bartlesville High School in 1999 and furthered his education at Rogers State University until he realized that firefighting was the only thing he was interested in pursuing. He lived a lifelong dream of becoming a professional fireman. His father retired as battalion chief after 32 years with Bartlesville Professional Fire Department; his father-in-law retired as captain after 35 years with the same department. Rusty has many cousins‚ uncles‚ and friends who he called his brothers‚ who are professional firefighters. He looked up to them and wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Rusty was involved with the Barnsdall Rural Volunteer Fire Department for eight years. His reason for being a firefighter was the feeling that he got rescuing‚ helping‚ and even saving another’s life. He said it was the greatest feeling you could experience.
Every time a fire truck drove by‚ Rusty’s eyes grew as big as baseballs‚ and he never took his eyes off them until they were out of sight. He said the horns and sirens of a fire truck gave him chilling goose bumps because of the passion he had for being a firefighter.
Rusty’s life was cut short‚ but we thank God every day for the memories we have of him. The only reason God chooses to take firemen such as Rusty is because he needs the best with him as well. Everyone that knew Rusty has lost a huge part of them‚ but the moments that he gave us will live on with us forever and be passed to his son. He is greatly missed by all.