The Life of Betty Jean Russell

Betty Jean Buckley Russell, Age: 100

Apr 27, 1923 - Aug 06, 2023

Betty Jean (Buckley) Russell was born in Denver, Colorado on April 27, 1923.  During her young life, her family lived on a ranch in Hayden, Colorado  until the Great Depression hit when she was six.  Her father found work in Pasco, Washington, and moved the family there.  Her father was pastor of the small RLDS congregation in Pasco.  She lived on a small farm along the banks of the Columbia River.  She had many fond memories of playing with friends by the river when people would gather at their home for dinner after church.  She related stories of ice skating on parts of the river during winter.  In the summer, Betty and her brother would chase the horse drawn ice wagon down the road hoping to get a few slivers of ice to help them cool off. 

The family moved to Ava, Missouri at the beginning of her high school years to help care for her dying grandmother.  They remained there through her high school graduation.  Betty was a good student and graduated third in her class. 

 Following high school she moved to St. Louis where she worked for TWA to earn money to attend college.  She attended Graceland College during World War II and recalled that there were very few male students on campus due to the war.  What few there were had to be shared by all the girls for all the dances and other events.  She graduated in 1946 from Graceland, and chose a career in nursing.  She attended the nursing program at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital.  The twelve classmates became Registered Nurses in 1949, and kept in touch throughout their lives.  Upon graduating, Betty remained at the “San”, and became a surgical nurse and helped teach the new nursing students.  

 While working there she met an intern and they married in 1951.  They moved to Raytown where her husband started his family medical practice.   She retired from nursing to care for her two children, and her mother-in-law who lived with them.  They remained in Raytown until her husband’s death in 2006 at which time she moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in Blue Springs.  Betty made many friends at Parkview congregation, and especially enjoyed her time with the OWL’s (Old Widow Ladies). 

 Betty loved to travel with her family and had many trips and adventures over the years.  She had many fun vacations with her children and their families in her later years, traveling all over the US, Canada, and Mexico.  She went on cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, and through the Panama Canal.  On these trips she earned a trophy from her grandchildren for “World’s Most Extreme Grandma”.  In her 80’s and 90’s she rode alpine slides, went on multiple zip lines, rode in a hot air balloon, and went white water rafting.  She wanted to sky dive, but her son put the kibosh on that idea.  She always enjoyed life to the fullest, and never tired of travel.  She loved life and her many friends and family. 

 In June of 2023, she had a stroke, and passed away at home two months later on August 6 at the age of 100. 

 She was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Esther Buckley, her husband, Robert K. Russell, and her brother, Ed Buckley.

 She is survived by a son, David Russell and wife Lisa; a daughter, Myra Boyd and husband Richard; grandchildren Bob and wife Stacey, Jim, Miranda, Sam, Matt and wife Lisa, Sarah, and Jared; and three great grandchildren Aiden, Lilly, and Leilani. 

Memorial service at 11:00am on August 12th at Parkview Community of Christ church at 801 SW 19th Street in Blue Springs, MO.  A visitation starting at 10:00am will precede the service.

A private family gravesite service will be held later.

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