Russell Runnels was born and raised on the island of Oahu and graduated from Moanalua High School in 1983. He met his wife at an Aiea Ward campout, and after a long courtship of two weeks, he proposed to her got they married seven months later. After their four children left home, their children encouraged to get their college degrees. So they left the town side of the island and moved to the country. He entered BYUH in 2014 and is a proud graduate of the Class of 2018.