Iola Dale Brittell Russell



Iola Dale Russell, 99, died at home in Medford, Ore., Aug. 23, 2009.

Iola was born Dec. 28, 1909 in Elgin, Neb., and graduated from Neligh High School. Iola eloped with John Ross Russell, of Neligh. They were married on July 4, 1931. This blessed union lasted 58 years until John's death on Oct. 19, 1989.

Iola and John with two young daughters moved from Neligh, Neb., in February 1942 to Hillsboro, Ore. Iola became "Rosie the Riveter" working in the shipyard at Willamette Iron and Steel in Portland. In 1950, the Russell family moved to Medford. In 1952, Iola went to work as a legal secretary for Sam Harbison, a Medford attorney. In 1957, she became legal secretary in the Jackson County DA's office. In 1970, she was honored as "Legal Secretary of the Year." She retired in 1976.

In retirement Iola and John enjoyed yearly winter months in Mesa, Ariz.

Iola was an active member of Medford First United Methodist Church. In addition she was a member of the Jackson County Legal Secretaries, the Emblem Club, the Sisters of Phythias and the Rebecca Lodge.

Iola was an unabashed fan of the Portland Blazers for decades. Last year she was able to see a "live" game in Portland against the Phoenix Suns. The Blazers won! In addition she had season tickets for Panther Basketball games for the last several years and reveled in the State playoffs and the State Title, cherishing her picture with Kyle Singler in his senior year.

Iola is survived by her two daughters and their husbands, Dr. Robert and Marilyn Kaufman and Dr. Lloyd and Nancy Bendickson; grandchildren, Lynne Cavin (Tony), Mary Beth Chalmers (Kevin), Nancy A. Heath (John), David R. Kaufman (Jamie), Carrie Traughber, John A. Bendickson,; great-grandchildren, Dylan Cavin, Sean Chalmers (Megan), Robbie Chalmers, John Ross Chalmers, Julianne and Grant Heath, Haydon and Ellie Traughber. Iola was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John; her parents; two infant brothers; and sisters, Lora Mae Obbink and Marjorie Audrey Boyle.

Funeral arrangements by Rogue Valley Funeral Alternatives. There will be a celebration of Iola's wonderful life at a future date. Memorial donations for Iola may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 607 W. Main, Medford, OR, 97501 or Providence Hospice, 2033 Commerce Dr., Medford, OR 97504.