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January 9, 1925 ~ May 19, 2023 (age 98) 98 Years Old
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Bonnie Joyce Russell passed away peacefully on May 19, 2023 at the Sweet Home in Chinook, MT, following a gallant battle with Alzheimer's. A memorial service will be held 2:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Harlem Mt on June 3, 2023. Internment at the Harlem Cemetery will immediately follow the service.
Bonnie, the eldest of 3 children, was born in Savage, MT on January 9, 1925, to Andrew S. and Kathryn Marie Kappel. She attended school in Savage until the family moved to Sidney, MT where she graduated from high school. She enrolled at Northern Montana College in Havre, graduating with a degree in education. Bonnie taught in multi-grade country schools near Sidney prior to accepting a teaching position in Chinook, MT. It was there she met her husband Wallace "Bud" Russell, and the couple eventually made Harlem their home.
Aside from the busy life in caring for their seven children, Bonnie miraculously found time to share her skills and talents with others. While essentially confined to home with young children, Bonnie masterfully completed sewing alterations and clothing items, including numerous gowns, for community members. She dedicated many years as a 4-H leader, was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church, held numerous offices as a charter member of the Busy XX home demonstration club, held local, district, and state offices of VFW Auxilliary, and was a member of the Nimble Thimble quilt guild.
Once the seven children were graduated from high school, Bonnie entered the "world of work" as a bookkeeper at North State Supply, later joining Bud in operating Bud’s Service. Following Bud’s retirement, Bonnie became a teacher’s aide in the Harlem Elementary School, and then head cook, thoroughy enjoying the hugs and "hi, Gramma" from children and staff.
Upon retiring, Bonnie spent countless hours at her favorite pastime - sewing. She amassed numerous accolades and awards for beautiful, charming quilts and artifacts.
Remembering her love, ready smile, laughter, sour cream cookies, and homemade bread, Bonnie is survived by her children Peggy (Alan) Azure, Kay (Jerry) Schmitt, Yoyo (Kermit) Johnson, Rogene Halver, Gary Russell, Shelley Russell, 13 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, sister Barbara Armstrong, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Bonnie is preceded in death by her husband of 76 years and son Greg, as well as her parents and brother Jack.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in her honor be made to Sweet Home in Chinook, Alzheimer's Association, or a location of the donor's choice.