Mercer Mary Brennan "Mary" Russell

BETHEL - Mercer Mary Brennan Russell, 88, of Bethel, Vt., died July 8, 2011, in Northfield, Vt. Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Nov. 27, 1922, a daughter of Thomas P. and Flora (Mercer) Brennan, she graduated from White Plains (N.Y.) High School in 1940, and earned a B.S. in physics from Western College in 1944. She married Charles Brinley (Brin) Russell in 1952. Brin died in 1978.

Mary started her career as a laboratory technician for the Manhattan Project (1944). She was a science educator in Norwich, Vt., and Hanover, N.H., area public schools during the 1960-70s, and was an early participant in environmental educational programs that grew into Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences and Montshire Museum.

Mary worked many years at Dartmouth College, holding an array of positions ranging from assisting Vilhjalmur Stefansson with his collection of Inuit artifacts, to work in the Long-Range Planning Office, to serving as editor of the American Journal of Physics, as an executive with Tucker Foundation, and in the Alumni Office.

She was the first registrar of the new Vermont Law School, and then worked as zoning administrator for the Town of Randolph, Vt. Into her 80s, she continued working as a freelance scientific editor.

She was instrumental in forming one of the state's first conservation commissions in Norwich, Vt., and in the 1980-90s, served on Act 250 District 3 Environmental Commission. A lifelong Democrat, she fought for equal rights and campaigned against nuclear power and weapons.

Open-house of remembrance August 6, 2011, 1-4 p.m., at the Methodist Church in Bethel-Gilead, Vt., with ceremony beginning at 2 p.m.

Memorial contributions in her name to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom USA, 11 Arlington St., Boston, MA 02116 or http://www.wilpf.org/.

Published in Rutland Herald on July 17, 2011