Eleanor McGann Russell
December 9, 1926 – March 20, 2022
Bend, Oregon – Eleanor McGann Russell
December 9, 1926 – March 20, 2022
Our mom, Ellie, passed away very peacefully in her sleep on the first day of spring, March 20, 2022. Spring is the time for new beginnings, and after 95 years here with us, her new life is just beginning.
Mom’s life began on December 9, 1926 in Poughkeepsie, New York, a place she still called home. She was the oldest of five children (predeceased siblings include Ava, Rosemary, Florence and George.) She graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 1944. She also lived in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California and McMinnville, Oregon before moving to Bend, Oregon .
Ellie learned to work hard at an early age. She worked alongside her mom in the family home, which eventually became a nursing home. She brought her work ethics into a variety of jobs, including that of switchboard operator for the New York Telephone Company, IBM, Hughes Aircraft and The Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, California. Ellie worked hard outside and inside the home, taking her role of devoted mother/wife seriously. She managed to squeeze a lot into one day, and was valued at each workplace, especially for her ability to make everyone feel welcomed and cared about.
In 1958, Eleanor’s life changed forever. In Los Angeles, California, she met Robert C. Russell (Bob) and they were married in 1960. They put down roots in Southern California where they raised two daughters, Cary (Doyle) and Jean (Gibson). Cary and Jean have fond memories of wearing matching hand-sewn outfits made by mom, endless pool-time in the backyard, and long days riding bikes and playing games on the street with the neighborhood kids. Mom was always there to guide, protect, and provide each and every one of them with snacks.
Ellie’s life was one of service and selfless devotion. One of her legacies is the unconditional care she took of her husband Bob (2002) who was a fully disabled WWII United States Navy veteran. She stood by Bob through everything, caring for him each and every day until he passed.
Ellie always put others first and will lovingly be remembered for this, and for her ability to make others feel comfortable. She always had an opinion and was known for her letters to Senators and editors of local newspapers. She marched to her own beat, began pinochle clubs, loved big, and sweetened and softened into everyone’s favorite resident/patient in the last few years of her life. She is remembered for many things, but it is perhaps her feisty spirit and willingness to speak her mind that live on not only in her two daughters, but in each of her seven grandchildren.
Her last months were filled with visits with her daughters and their husbands (Cary and Dave, Jean and Jim) and her grandchildren , Andrew, Alexa, Caitlyn and Caroline Doyle and Danny, Patrick and Erin Gibson. She was the world to each of them, and them to her. She had a special and unique relationship with each of them that they will always treasure.
A family service will be held on Monday, June 6th, 2022 at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon where she will be laid to rest alongside her husband Bob. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Published by & from Apr. 15 to Apr. 16, 2022.
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