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Helen Marthiel Russell
Mar 17, 2018   02:46 PM

Helen Marthiel Russell, 83, of Winters, Texas passed away on March 10, 2018.  Born on August 10, 1934 in Winters, Texas to Billie Bailey Middlebrook and Martin G. Middlebrook. She graduated from Winters High School in 1951 where she participated in the Winters High School band as a twirler.  She entered McMurry College in Abilene, Texas where she earned a degree in elementary education, was a member of Gamma Sigma sorority and there she met the love of her life, Tommy Lynn Russell.  Marthiel and Tommy were married in Winters, Texas on August 1, 1954.  They moved to Dallas, Texas where Tommy attended Baylor College of Dentistry.  She began her teaching career as a first grade teacher at Armstrong Elementary in Highland Park.  She taught first and second grade as well as music for 42 years in Dallas, Abilene, Ballinger, and Winters.  She was a gifted teacher who instilled the love of learning from an early age in her many students.  She gave back to her beloved profession by being involved in the Texas State Teachers Association and serving as President of the Runnels County TSTA. 

Marthiel and Tommy moved back to Winters in 1961 where they raised their two children, Jeff Russell and J’Lynn Russell Cooper.  Marthiel was a life long member of the First United Methodist Church in Winters.  She enjoyed traveling with the family across the United States and abroad.  Annual summer camping vacations across the U.S. were the highlight of the year.  Family snow skiing trips became routine.  Her dogs, Roxie, Lucy, and Molly were dear to her heart and were always with her.

In 1997 after retirement from teaching, she became actively involved in the Texas Dental Alliance and American Dental Alliance.  She served as President of the Texas Dental Alliance and on the boards of the American Dental Alliance.  She was active in the TDA Smiles Foundation that provides charitable dental care across Texas.  She developed many dear friends through her dental alliance activities and was planning to attend the meeting next month in Ft. Worth.

She maintained a close circle of friends from Winters that attended school together.  They had their ‘own’ annual reunions and were intertwined in each other’s families and were each bonded by a unique friendship.  She was interested in others and took great care in knowing as many details about people as possible.  She was available to anyone in need.  She was very proud and interested in the lives of each of her 5 grandchildren.  

We are thankful for the many doctors and nurses who cared for Marthiel over the last 29 years of her illness.  Through countless operations, scans and procedures, she lived life to the fullest not allowing sickness to define her.  “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope...” Romans 5: 3,4.

Marthiel Russell was preceded in death by her two parents, Billie and Martin Middlebrook.  She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Dr. Tommy L. Russell; two children and spouses, Dr. T. Jeff Russell and his wife Jennifer of Dallas and J’Lynn and Alan Cooper of Winters; 5 grandchildren and spouses, Mary Claire and Joe MacDonald of St. Louis, Missouri; Natalie and Nelson Fleming of Dothan, Alabama ; Frances and Zach Allen of Dallas, Texas; Alanna Cooper and Cameron Cooper of Winters; one great grandson Theodore ‘Teddy’ MacDonald of St. Louis and five nieces.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday March 17 at 2:00 PM at First United Methodist Church in Winters, 141 N. Church St. Visitation will be held at Winters Funeral Home, 120 State St. on Friday March 16 at 6:00 PM.  

Memorials may be sent to Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation online at tdasmiles.org.  

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