Cooking and humor brought pharmacy couple together

Russell and Kristi Heaton at the 2017 Crimson Gala.

By Kelly Sylvester, director of development and alumni relations

Russell Heaton (’00) remembers seeing his future wife, Kristi (’00), in 1995, while they were both students in a chemistry class at Eastern Washington University. He immediately thought she was beautiful, so he approached her and asked a question about the lab. Russ says she was not impressed by him, at all, and Kristi doesn’t even remember this encounter. But a year later, when they were both at WSU, they met again and started to hang around with mutual friends.

One fateful night, they joined a group of friends going from Pullman to Spokane to see a Chiefs hockey game. Kristi returned to Pullman that night, but Russ stayed in Spokane. The next day, Kristi stopped by Russ’s house to make sure he got home okay, and she watched with amazement as he worked his way around the kitchen. He remembers the meal he prepared for their first date: sweet and sour chicken. The rest, he says, is history.

“When she found out I could cook, it was over.”

Russ said he knew immediately on that first date that Kristi was “the one” but jokes that she is still “undecided.”

For her part, Kristi says, “I knew he made me laugh, he cooked, he could dance, and so it was meant to be. And he still keeps me laughing!”

Fast-forward to today, Russ and Kristi Heaton have been married for 24 years this March. They have two daughters, aged 19 and 15, who Russ says, “luckily look like their Mom.” One daughter is a freshman at Arizona State University and the other a freshman in high school. Both are avid soccer players and Russ and Kristi love watching them on the field and cheering them on, as they have been doing for many years.

Their careers as pharmacists keep them busy, but they have similar schedules, which allows them to spend time together and with their daughters. Kristi is a clinical pharmacist supervisor at Providence Holy Family Anticoagulation & Pharmacotherapy Clinic. Russ is the vice president of pharmacy operations at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, which operates 13 pharmacies in Washington and Oregon.

They are both proud Cougar Pharmacists and said they are “so thankful for the year at WSU that brought us together!” Congratulations the Heaton family.