Russell Charles Kick III was born on July 20, 1969, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he spent his youth. His mother, Jane (Woody) Kick, was an executive assistant and later a homemaker. His father, Russell Charles Kick II, became chairman of the accounting and finance department at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville; Russ enrolled there, majored in psychology, and graduated in 1991.
A brief early marriage, with Kimberly Gannon, ended in divorce. Mr. Kick’s family consists of his sister and his mother.
As a youth, Mr. Kick blanked out information. His sister said in an interview that he was surrounded by books – including a dog-eared copy of “An Imperfect Education: 3,684 Things You Should Learn But Maybe Not” (1987) by William Wilson and Judy Jones – and frivolous pursuits. played competitive rounds.
After college, he began a doctoral program in public policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he received a full scholarship. But he lost interest and enrolled at Nashville State Technical Institute, now Nashville State Community College, to study communication arts.
His sister said that attending technical college, from which he graduated in 1995, was a turning point in his life. The program developed his innate interests and taught him how to create websites and design books. While still a student, he produced his first book, “Outposts: A Catalog of Rare and Disturbing Alternative Information” (1995), which covered topics such as sex, drugs, censorship, and religious and cultural extremism. .
“He was a true polymath,” Michael Ravnitzki, a public records researcher and friend of Mr. Kick, said in an email.
Mr Kick, he said, was “interested in every subject under the sun, hunting for factual information and fictional expression in the limits of human existence.”