Joan Plummer Russell

Born: 02/24/1930 Passed:

Joan, 90, left us on Wednesday, November 25th and as her brother Tim put it, “was greeted by thousands of angels welcoming her into heaven”. She had a life filled with adventures, beginning in Buffalo, NY, where she was born to Thomas and Sibyl Plummer on February 24, 1930. She was the beloved wife of the late Robert MV Russell for 65 years. She was so proud of her biggest accomplishment, raising nine children with the love and encouragement they needed to each find a career they enjoyed, a partner they loved and who now have each other to love & share memories with: Mary-Sibyl (Raymond) Kress, Cleveland OH; Virginia Lentz, Greenwich, CT; Robert (Jill Blanchette) Russell, Westerly, RI; John (Colleen) Russell, Indianapolis, IN; Sheridan (Ramzi) Ghaby, Los Angeles, CA; Beth (Nancy) Russell, Seal Harbor, ME; Margy Judd, Cleveland, OH; Thomas (Sandra Silver) Freeport, ME; and Kate (Rob) Garn, Jeromesville, OH. She was grandmother of 12 (John, Brook & Kathleen Kress; Emily Lentz, Steven & Jacob Russell, Anthony, Cassandra & Samantha Ghaby, Amanda, Dan & Michael Garn) and great grandmother of 5. She leaves behind a sister, Mary (Gordon) Atkins, Bellevue, WA; two brothers, Tim (Margee) Plummer, Rose Valley, PA; and Holbrook (Karen) Plummer, Lisbon Falls, ME and many nieces & nephews.

After her children were grown, Joan returned to school and became trained as a hospital chaplain, a position she held at the former St Alexis Hospital. In retirement she jumped full time into her passion, sparked by participation in the Shaker Heights Citizen’s Police Academy, of taking “ride alongs” with any K-9 police officer willing to do so. Her favorite, Shaker Police Officer Mike Matsik, was the inspiration for her children’s book, Aero and Officer Mike: Police Partners, that was published by Boyds Mills Press and won the National Literacy Award for best Non Fiction Primary book of the year in 2002. Her second book, Trust Your Dog, was an adult non-fiction book featuring the stories of dozens of working dogs and their human partners.

She loved walking on beaches to collect shells & rocks, planning holiday menus and setting the table for dozens using her best china & crystal and she wore her heart on her sleeve, usually being the first at any family gathering to burst into tears, often for joyful reasons. Her faith was central to her life and she was a long-time parishioner of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Shaker Heights, followed by Our Lady of Peace near Shaker Square. Her macaroni & cheese was legendary, and there were plenty of leftovers as she always cooked as if her family of 11 was still in the house even long after her children had flown from the nest. Hug someone you love today in honor of Joan.


12 Tributes to Joan Plummer Russell

  1. Jeannie Thompson says:

    Your family sounds like one I wish I had grown up in. Probably most of us do!!!! Your mom sounds like someone I wish I had known….what a lucky world to have had her! Peace to you all.

    • Lynne & Tom Brenner says:

      Your mom sounded like she was a mother to all she encountered. I never knew about her as an author her amazing accomplishments, not the least being raising you Margy, and all your siblings.

      I wish you strength in the coming days; peace to follow. Sending our deepest condolences to you and your family

  2. Jennifer Goujon says:

    Giving thanks to God to have shared his spirit though her with so many. God bless Aunt Joan.

  3. Regina Sacha says:

    What an amazing legacy and full life! Her smile says it all and your tribute of her wonderous life is so heartwarming and full of love. As she was. Blessings upon your family and know that Joan is in Heaven with her God.

  4. Irene & Bill Furst says:

    Great lady. Glad to have known her.

  5. Claire Scott Miller says:

    Dear Margy….
    What an amazing mother and family so full of life, passion and generosity. And her smile must have warmed so many hearts. I know she will stay in your heart… and you indeed reflect your Mother’s love of life and giving back.

  6. Anne Bomar says:

    Dear Margy, I hope that you and your wonderful family will take comfort in a life so full and well lived. May God grant you peace and joy in happy memories at this season of giving thanks.

  7. Paula Fischer Good says:

    My deepest sympathies to the entire Russell family. Your mother is someone who has always stood out in my memories from childhood. She was a wonderful woman and welcoming to many. She is now resting in the arms of the Lord.

  8. Tim and Margee Plummer says:

    Dear Russell family,
    as you know, your mothers life was centered on our Lord. In addition to being a loving mother her endearing spirituality was an inspiration to all of us! Indeed, she was welcomed at the gates of heaven by our choir of angels! God rest her soul! Love Tim and Margee Plummer

  9. Curtis Treska says:

    Beautiful lady, physically & spiritually.

  10. Wanda J. Ngolo says:

    Prayers for comfort, strength and Shalom. What a Blessing to have shared this journey with you

  11. Chris Robinson says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I did not have the honor of knowing Joan, but she sounds like an amazing person. I am a special education teacher who was trying to learn more about her, Officer Mike, and Aero. My students loved her Aero and Officer Mike story, published as a selection in their reader. I wish she could have seen how excited they got about her story. When I promised the kids I would try to learn more, they said it was “the best idea since pizza!” I wanted her family to know how much her writing meant to my kids in Milwaukee.

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