Dorothy "Dot"  Russell

Obituary of Dorothy "Dot" Russell

Dorothy Anne Russell, a loving and supportive wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died peacefully on Sunday, May 28. An enthusiastic fan of literature, movies, and good government, and a long-time resident at Dominican Oaks, Santa Cruz, CA, she was 98.


Born at home in the shore town of Belmar, NJ on July 7, 2017, Dot, as she was known to all, lived in East Orange, NJ until she was 14. Her father, James E. Van Horne, had married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Farrell, in Trenton, N.J. and worked in New York as a purchasing agent. Dot spent her high school years in Atlanta, GA, where she was a cheerleader, and graduated from the College of New Rochelle, a private Catholic college in New Rochelle, New York, where she majored in English.


Dot met Stu Russell soon after her family moved back north to Larchmont, NY, dated him while he was at Hamilton College, in Clinton, N.Y., and married him after he received his master's degree in literature from Columbia University. During World War II, Stu was an officer in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps and was stationed in Miami, FL, where their first child was born. Dot returned to East Orange while Stu served in the Pacific, and their second child was born soon after he returned. Dot and Stu had a loving and fun-filled marriage for 63 years.


The family lived in northern New Jersey for 38 years, first in Florham Park and then in Summit, while Stu worked in textbook publishing in New York City, eventually becoming an executive editor at Harcourt Brace and at McMillian. Dot volunteered with the League of Women Voters and worked in public relations for Ciba-Geigy, a pharmaceutical company, for nine years.


Dot and Stu moved to Aptos, CA in 1984, to be near their children and their familits and near the beach and golf. They volunteered for Meals on Wheels, participated in the raising of their grandson, and enjoyed life together for another 20 years.


After Stu's death in 2004, Dot moved to Dominican Oaks where she made many new friends, participated in the movie committee, and attended Lifelong Learners. Always a lover of books and the wife of an editor and author, Dot spent much of her final years writing her own essays, poems, and profiles. These writing were widely respected and reflected her appreciation of story-telling, her straightforward intelligence, and her positive attitude.


Dot is survived by her son Stuart and daughter-in-law Elizabeth of Palo Alto, her daughter Susan of Aptos, three grandsons - Matthew and Benjamin Russell, and Will Reising, and three great-grandchildren – Megan and Adam Russell and Miles Reising.


A memorial service will be held at Dominican Oaks, 3400 Paul Sweet Road at 10:30 am on Saturday June 24, 2017. Contributions may be sent to Meals-on-Wheels, 1777 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.