Princeton - Irrepressible Betty Russell was born Elizabeth Newhall on February 26,1918 to Linna (Louise) and Arthur Newhall in Detroit, Michigan. With her parents and her brother Franklin, she lived in North Muskegon, Michigan and later in Hinsdale, Illinois. Betty was known then and now for her wit, warmth, beauty and love of music.
After attending the University of Chicago, Betty met Robert Shaw Russell, a city planner and naval officer, in 1941. They became engaged before Bob shipped off to Hawaii, where, because of the dangers of the war, the Navy sent only unmarried officers. Betty found a job in San Francisco, then Honolulu, and the day after she finally arrived in Hawaii, they were married, on May 17, 1943.
Bob’s work took them to Louisville, Kentucky where their first two daughters were born—Louise Perry Russell and Mary Forbes Russell. After a stint in Steubenville Ohio, Bob took a job with the Worcester Redevelopment Authority and worked there until he retired. Bob and Betty’s third daughter, Anna Russell MacLeod, was born in Worcester.
Betty excelled at homemaking and joymaking, and became a second mother to many. She and Bob bought land in Princeton in 1956 and started planting Christmas trees, establishing Greenmantle Tree Farm. They built a house and moved to Greenmantle in 1975, and the tree farm has been a holiday tradition for several generations now. Bob and Betty travelled the world together and started a joint forestry venture called Amakiwi in New Zealand, also thriving today.
Bob and Betty had been married for 59 years when Bob passed away in 2002. Known as “Mimi” by her daughters, son-in-law Leo Pierre Roy, and adoring grandchildren Emily, Lydia, Linna, Russell, Kaisa and Perry, Betty was healthy and happy at home until the day she died, January 24, 2016. For the last 12 years of her life, she was beautifully cared for by Bunny Bullock. Betty Russell leaves a wonderful legacy of love, joy, song, dance, adventure and exuberance.
Betty’s service will be held at the First Congregational Church in Princeton, MA on April 9 at 11 AM. Betty supported Planned Parenthood all her life.
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