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Joanne Bryant Russell, being of sound mind, but weary body, died on Sunday, January 28, 2024, three days short of her 92nd birthday. She was born January 31, 1932 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Thomas James Bryant and Mabel Midgley Bryant. She was the second of three children born into the family. She had an older sister Betty and a younger brother Stephen. She was raised and educated in Salt Lake and loved her school days at Hawthorne Elementary, Irving Junior, and East High School. She graduated from the University of Utah in 1953.
Joanne married Peter G. Russell in the Salt Lake Temple in 1953, and together they loved and raised seven children. They were married for sixty-four years. She often said that her most difficult yet rewarding job was to be a mother. She loved her children and her posterity.
Joanne appreciated the opportunity to be employed at Auerbach’s Department store working in the china and gifts department. Her love of beautiful china continued throughout her life. She was a soda jerk and a waitress at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, she served rolls in the dining room and patio at Sun Valley, and she worked at the University in both the Meteorology Department and at the Art Museum.
Music was a life-long friend of hers. She sang in the public schools Honor Choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle as a young child, and with other groups such as East High’s a cappella choir, Kappa Kappa Gamma quartet, University of Utah Collegium, Lakeside Chapter Sweet Adelines in Bellevue, WA, Weber State Symphonic Choir and in a church quartet competition. She loved the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Monkees.
At the University of Utah, Joanne was a member of the honor societies: Spurs (freshman), Cwean (junior year), and Mortar Board (senior), and served as President of the Associated Women Students. She cherished many friendships from her family, classmates, work and church friends, chorale friends, sports friends, medical teams, fantastic neighbors, and her dear partner in marriage Peter. She loved being with all these people and considered them to be a gift in her life.
Joanne was an avid sports participant in skiing, tennis, and softball. She taught herself to ski at Bonneville Golf Course and learned to play tennis at Liberty Park. In her adult life, she played church softball as a second baseman and she competed in USTA tennis leagues. She was team manager of her son Mike’s baseball team “The Cougars.” She hauled her seven children and their teammates to ballparks all over town, hanging from the tailgate of her Ford station wagon. She was the best carpooler and cheerleader at her children’s activities. She was determined for her children to be competent swimmers since she didn’t have the opportunity to swim as a child because all the public swimming pools were closed due to the polio outbreak.
Joanne was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served as the ward Relief Society bulletin editor and she named the bulletin “The Third Word” because she was in the Pleasant View Third Ward. Her church calling of Relief Society President was her favorite. She enjoyed teaching the Relief Society women and learning about their lives. She also served many years in the PTA at Lomond View Elementary School. She served all her neighbors with deep compassion and truly cared for them.
Joanne loved cleaning her home and she was the best laundress in the world. She could fold clothes so that they never needed to be ironed. Many friends and visitors will remember taking off their shoes when visiting Joanne’s home. She taught her children the value of hard work. She loved planting flowers and digging in the dirt, and over the years she created lovely gardens at her home with the help of her husband Peter. Some of her favorite flowers were roses, dahlias, foxglove, calla lilies, and hostas.
Joanne is survived by her seven children: Brian G. Russell (LeeAnn); Michael A. Russell (Doree); Stephanie R. Persson (Dion); Robin R. Saeva (Sam); Julie R. Nielsen (Ken); Thomas J. Russell (Michelle); and Paula R. Osborne (David); and her sister-in-law Julie C. Bryant. She had 28 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Peter G. Russell, her sister Betty B. Baker, and her brother Stephen T. Bryant.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2024, with viewings Friday, February 2nd, 6 - 8 p.m. and on February 3rd, 9:30–10:30 a.m. at the Pleasant View Ward Church, 900 West on Pleasant View Drive, Pleasant View, Utah. She will be buried next to her sweetheart Peter in Ben Lomond Cemetery in North Ogden, Utah.