FORT MILL – Mary Elizabeth Russell, 74, of Fort Mill, died peacefully in her home Jan 1, 2014.
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Mary was born to the late Rafael and Mathilde Recht on Dec. 29, 1939, in Minneapolis, Minn. She graduated from St. Margaret's Academy in 1957 and attended the University of Minnesota on the Minneapolis campus. She married her former spouse, Thomas Russell, in 1963 and they raised a family in Winnetka, Ill., before retiring to the Charlotte, N.C., area in 1999.
Mary was an executive assistant and worked in a variety of positions including secretary to the superintendent of the Avoca School District in Wilmette, Ill. She was a skilled and creative seamstress and did a considerable amount of freelance decorating work in her retirement.
Growing up in Minneapolis, she enjoyed waterskiing, later became an avid golfer and loved playing classical piano. Her lifelong passion was gardening. Mary's flower garden in Winnetka was loved by her neighbors and featured in a local magazine. She later became an active member of the Fort Mill Garden Club. Always ready to rise to a challenge, she landscaped the entire yard of the house she loved in Fort Mill and was known to be quite handy with a chainsaw well into her seventies.
Mary is survived by three children, Peter (Pamela) Russell of Winnetka; Susan Calvert of Charlotte; and James (Bilkis) Russell, of Chicago; five grandchildren, whom she loved dearly, Kaitlyn, Andrew and Claire Russell and Jack and Mark Calvert; and the last of her faithful cats, Sophie.
Mary will be cremated, and in accordance to her wishes and independent nature, there will be no services, but all are invited to remember her in their own way. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins.
Palmetto Funeral Home and Crematory of Fort Mill is in charge.
Palmetto Funeral Home
2049 Carolina Place Drive
Fort Mill, SC 29708
Published in Carolina Gateway on Jan. 15, 2014