Elsie Jean Russell Conant(1926 - 2018)

Elsie Jean Russell Conant

Asheville - Elsie Jean Russell Conant, 92, of Asheville, NC, passed away on February 28, 2018 at Givens Estates in Asheville. She was born February 27, 1926, in Atlanta, GA, the daughter of Horace Russell and Julia Eugenia Myers Russell. She was raised with her older brothers, Horace and Philip, in Atlanta where her father was a lawyer for The Atlanta Savings & Loan. During her early school years, her father's work took the family to Washington, D.C. and then to Glencoe, IL, a suburb of Chicago.

Elsie went to New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, and then attended Duke University in Durham, NC. At Duke, she was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, in three years, in 1946.

That same year, she married Roger Conant and together they had four sons: Douglas, Hayden, Steven, and Jay. A fifth son was lost at birth. The family lived in Glencoe, IL and Elsie was active in many civic organizations: The Chicago Botanic Garden, Cub Scouts, and the Glencoe Women's Club. She was an expert bridge player, ultimately achieving recognition as Silver Life Master. She was known for her intellect, forthright nature, service orientation, commitment to fitness, voracious reading habit, devotion to friends and family, and competitive fire, particularly around the bridge table.

In 1998, she moved south to Givens Estates in Asheville to live in a more comfortable climate and to be near her brother, Phil, and her sister-in-law, Lu. In Asheville, she continued to support and enjoy many of the same activities she participated in prior to her move, volunteering at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville and establishing her presence in the Asheville bridge community. She engaged in many activities at Givens, including participating in a variety of theater productions, swimming regularly, discovering yoga, working in the library, reading to other residents, playing bridge with her brother, Phil, and attending Vespers. She also continued her lifelong pursuit of solving all kinds of puzzles - jigsaw, Sudoku, crossword, to name a few.

She is survived by her son Doug and his wife Leigh, from Chicago, IL; son Hayden and his wife Melissa, from Wilmette, IL; son Steve, from Salt Lake City, UT; and son Jay and his wife Lisa, from Vancouver, WA. She delighted in tracking the exploits of all of her grandchildren: Ben Conant of Chicago, IL; Tyler Conant of NYC; Sarah Conant Tonucci and her husband, Phil, of Washington, DC; Miles Conant of Chicago, IL; the late Tim Conant of Salt Lake City, UT; Lindsay Conant of Mountain View, CA; and Dylan Conant of Vancouver, WA. She relished her time with her Asheville-born nephews and nieces: Glenn Russell, his wife Linda, and their sons Scott and Andy; George Russell and his wife Nancy; and Susan Haake and her husband Bobby.

The family would like to express deep thanks to the staff at Givens Estate, Four Seasons Hospice, and Comfort Keepers for their loving care and devotion to Elsie, particularly over the past 6 months.

A private family celebration of life will be held at a future date.

The family encourages those who wish to make a donation in memory of Elsie to make a gift to Givens Estates' Library Fund. Gifts may be mailed to Givens Estates, Development Office, 2360 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803, or made online at givenscommunities.org/give-online.

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Mar. 4, 2018