She was born June 30, 1921 in Langsville, Ohio, the daughter of the late Robison and Elsie (Miller) McKnight. Mary graduated from Rutland High School (where she was the 1939 May Queen) and Columbus Business College.
In 1942 she married Samuel Michael Russell. Mary moved with “Sammy” to Florida directly after their wedding where he served as a flight instructor in WWII. Mary and Sam came to Urbana in 1945.
Mary is survived by children, Sharon Davidson, retired artist, of Urbana; Robert Michael Russell (Teresa), retired chemistry teacher at Urbana High School; Dr. Shelley M. Russell (Steve), Marquette, Mich.; and Dr. Timothy McKnight Russell, Grahamsville, New York.
She is also survived by her sister Janet Yost (Kim), her grandchildren, Dr. Derek Davidson (Karen), New Philadelphia, Ohio; Warrant Officer Kyle Davidson, helicopter pilot, currently serving in Iraq; Chad Russell, Restaurant Manager in Edwards, Colorado; Samuel Russell, Potsdam University; Glory Russell-Parks, senior at Marquette H.S.; her great-granddaughter, Mary Davidson; and all Mary’s loving cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Mary is also survived by her childhood sweetheart, the love of her life and her husband of sixty-seven years, Sam Russell. When their youngest son asked Sam to decide on Mary’s final resting place, he said that the family could decide where to take the ashes, “but if we’re talking about her spirit, I’ll hold it in my two hands.”
Mary was a Cub Scout Den Mother, a Girl Scout Leader, a member of the Buck Creek Women’s Club and the Urbana Methodist Church. She enjoyed cooking, flower gardening, and most of all, the beauties of the natural world around her. Mary was famous for her black raspberry pies, but they could not compare with their creator’s sweetness. Her loving heart and her kind and gentle nature enriched all those whose lives she touched.
The family would like to thank Marilee Rankin, Nicki Myers, and Barbara Daniels with Cornerstone Hospice for their excellent care. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Alzheimer’s Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, PO Box 1950, Clarksburg, MD 20871-1950. Following Mary’s wishes, her body will be cremated. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 3-4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 at VERNON FUNERAL HOME, Urbana. A memorial service will follow at 4 p.m. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.vernonfh.com.