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Dorothy Peck Russell

Mar 8, 2017 - From staff reports

Former Riverton resident Dorothy Peck Russell died Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, surrounded by her loving family at home in Bedford, Virginia. She was 93 years old.

Dorothy Louise Peck was born in Riverton on April 19, 1923, the second-eldest of six siblings, all children of Leroy Ellsworth Peck and Elvira Sostrom Peck. She grew up in Riverton and was a 1941 graduate of Riverton High School, where she was the valedictorian.

"She grew up in a family of consummate wordsmiths, where a love of learning was paramount and a dictionary always close to hand," her loved ones said. "Many a dinner at her house concluded with a lively word game."

She married Charles Benjamin Russell in 1944. "She knew she wanted to marry him the first time they met," family members said. They celebrated 72 years of marriage last May.

He survives, along with their three children, Barbara Raintree (Phillip) of Bedford, Bill Russell (Kathy) of Ithaca, New York, and Harriette Trevino (Jesse) of Monroe, Connecticut.

Mrs. Russell began her career as an elementary school teacher following her teacher training at the University of Wyoming. Music was an overarching theme of her life, from childhood through the end of her life. While raising her family, she began a career as a piano teacher, which she continued with great success for more than 35 years, inspiring a love of music in hundreds of young students.

She expanded her keyboard mastery by studying organ, earning her bachelor's degree in music from the conservatory at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She devoted herself to a long career as a church organist at Methodist churches in Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Norwalk, Connecticut. She was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.

The family followed Mr. Russell's developing career with International Paper, moving from Riverton to Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and to Kansas City, Kansas, finally settling in Stamford, Connecticut, where they lived for many years.

In addition to her musical career, Mrs. Russell was a co-founder of Bull's Head Printers in Stamford with husband Charles and younger daughter Harriette. They worked together in this family business until retiring and moving to Florida.

In 2010, Dorothy and Charles Russell moved to Virginia so they could be near their older daughter, Barbara, who provided devoted care through the end of Mrs. Russell's life.

Dorothy Russell was predeceased by her parents; brothers Roy Peck and Bob Peck of Riverton; her younger sister, Florence Maxwell.

In addition to her children, she is survived by brother Russell Peck of Rochester, N.Y., and her sister, Judy Rudiakov of Manchester, Vermont.

"Dorothy took great delight in her nine grandchildren and her 14 great-grandchildren," the family said. "Family gatherings featuring four generations were the light of her life. She regarded Ken Marks (Nora) as a second son. Dorothy was a gracious hostess and was eternally devoted to her family and their many friends."

A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Main Street United Methodist Church in Bedford, Virginia.

Flowers would be welcome, as would donations in Dorothy Russell's honor to the Music Fund of the Main Street United Methodist Church, 212 E. Main Street, Bedford, VA 24523.

Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, Virginia.

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