Ruth Russell, 84, passed away peacefully on October 12, 2021 at the Fall River Jewish Home, where she had resided for the past 14 years. She was born January 25, 1937 in Winnsboro, South Carolina, the daughter of Robert and Eliza Jane Singleton Russell, and sister to 9 other siblings.
Ruth graduated from the Fairfield County Training School and served at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Winnsboro, SC. Following graduation, in 1955, she moved to New York City, at the age of 18.
In 1959, at the age of 22, Ruth joined Robert and Adelheid (Heidy) Wuersch, both immigrants to the US from Switzerland, as a nurse and housemaid for their recently born son Tony, and soon to be born daughter Kathy.
In 1962, Ruth moved with the Wuersch family to Fall River, Massachusetts. In Fall River, she joined and was active as a congregant in the Bethel A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. With Mrs. Hicks, she taught and eventually took charge of its Sunday School. She was deeply moved by the Civil RIghts struggle and the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King.
In 1966, her son David Allen Russell was born. Ruth and David, had a separate apartment in Fall River. However, she and David also lived with the Wuersch family until 1977.
David, Tony and Kathy, grew up together, and was loved as a brother. Ruth was also loved by the Wuersch children as a second mom. And since Heidy Wuersch’s passing in 2007, Ruth has been the last surviving parent of this family. David graduated from BMC Durfee High School. He lives in Fall River, and is still a congregant at Bethel A.M.E.Church. He is a very gifted artist, and is involved in many civic activities.The Wuersch children also live close to Fall River; with Tony in Providence, RI, and Kathy in Westport, MA, with her husband Ron Flener. Ruth also leaves many happy nephews, nieces, and their children.
Ruth enjoyed bingo and painting in her later years. She was also an incredibly gifted story teller. She could spin a story out of thin air, and spice it up with lots of sarcasm and wit. And while she was one of the kindest human beings, you could ever hope to meet - once she got to know you, she would joyfully tease and provoke you, into either laughter, or then challenge you into further verbal joustings. Ruth, or ‘Ruthie’ as she was affectionately called at the FR Jewish Home, surrounded herself with laughter and light. And with great honor, Sister Ruth Russell was Stewardess Emeritus at Bethel A.M.E Church.
In addition to her parents, Ruth Russell is predeceased by her 9 siblings:
Miss Lillian Russell, Winnsboro, Mrs. Ollie Russell Jackson (The Reverend Carl E. Jackson) of Winnsboro, SC; William Russell (Betty) of Winnsboro, SC; Benjamin Russell (Janie Russell-Gladney) of Winnsboro, SC; Robert Russell (Maggie); Long Island, NY; Abraham Russell (Annie Mae) of Philadelphia ,PA; Ethel Russell Chelsey of Buffalo, NY; Eliza Jane Russell Harnett (Robert) of NY,NY.; John Henry Russell (Valerie), of Winnsboro, SC.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 11AM in the Bethel A.M.E. Church, Hanover Street, Fall River. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. For those living outside the area, a livestream of the service will play here on Ruth's Tribute Page, at the appointed hour.
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