Mrs. Mary Jean Russell, wife of Bishop John Russel (retired), passed on to the church triumphant on Thursday, Dec. 27. The Russell family has announced that Mary Jean's celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church Fort Worth. Mrs. Russell will be interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Mary Jean served the DFW area and the Central Texas Conference in myriad ways - including as the Bishop's wife from 1980 to 1992. Bishop and Mrs. Russell were assigned to the DFW area following Bishop Russell's election to the episcopacy in 1980. In 1988, the Russell's were assigned to the newly formed Fort Worth episcopal area (aka, the Central Texas Conference), where they served until retiring in 1992.
Bishop Lowry is asking all members of the Central Texas Conference to join him in praying for Bishop Russell and his entire family during this time.
The following is the official obituary as published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram on Dec. 30, 2018...
Mary Jean Garrett Russell passed away at the age of 92 on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, one day after her 71st wedding anniversary to her loving husband, Bishop John Russell, retired United Methodist bishop.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, Fort Worth, Texas, in her name. Mary Jean was a woman of many talents, including that of a loving wife and mother, a wonderful minister's wife, an accomplished seamstress and a very talented musician. She often shared her talents with others during their appointments in the Oklahoma Conference and in the North and Central Texas conferences of the United Methodist Church.
Born to John and Mary Jean in 1956 was a son, John Garrett Russell, whose rare skin disorder, epidermolysis bullosa, presented challenges well beyond those a new mother would experience. Learning all she could about the disorder, she beautifully balanced the ability to lovingly care for him while also challenging him to keep striving. After being told John's life expectancy would not take him to teenage years, he graduated from high school and from Tulsa University, Tulsa, Okla. Without the strength of Mary Jean Russell, John might not have lived to age 25 and been able to do the many wonderful things he did.
Those who have predeceased Mary Jean are her son, John Garrett Russell; brother, Louis Garrett; and parents, Wilbur and Alma Garrett. SURVIVORS: Mary Jean is survived by her husband, Bishop John Russell; daughter, Mary M. Layton and her husband, Bill Layton; children, William Layton, Melissa Layton and Meredith Layton; daughter, Deborah Cordaro and husband, Louis Cordaro; sister, Margaret Bergthold; and grandchildren, Jessica and Joseph Layton.