Joan Holly (Oberg) Russell was born to Gilbert Sr. and Pearl Oberg on Dec. 12, 1942, at Anchorage, Alaska. She passed away at home on June 15, 2013, after a courageous fight with cancer.
The Oberg family moved to Port Angeles, Wash., when Joan was a child. She graduated from Port Angeles High School and then completed a secretarial program at a business college soon after. She returned to Alaska at 19 and began a successful career at the Bureau of Land Management. Due to her knowledge of historic land records, she was selected to automate the records for the agency. She later transferred to Denver, Colo., where she married the man who became her lifelong best friend, Eugene Russell and was instantly the mother of three sons, a role she relished. Joan returned to college as an adult, graduating from Eastern Montana with honors in 1987. She later worked at the college as a faculty member.
Joan was preceded in death by her parents.
She is survived by her beloved Eugene; brothers Gilbert Jr. and Gary; her sons Jeff in Fairbanks, Alaska, Matt in Denver and Lan in Mesa, Colo.; six grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.
Joan was a loving woman. She loved her family, her friends and animals of all varieties. She went to extraordinary lengths to care for whatever animal came her way, whether it be pets or those she found alongside of the road. They were in the finest of hands with Joan. She also enjoyed gardening, cooking and traveling with her best friend, especially on cruises and to Arizona every winter since they retired.
She was a member of the St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Emmett, Idaho, where she served as secretary for a number of years. Memorials may be made to Pet Adoption League of Gem County 1526 N. Washington Ave., Emmett, ID 82617.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday June 21, 2013, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Emmett. Services are under the direction of the Potter Funeral Chapel Emmett.