Phyllis Lucille Russell 1926 – 2022 San Diego, CA
I am saddened to announce the death of my dearest friend and mentor, Ms. Phyllis L. Russell. She was born on June 14, 1926 and passed away at home on Friday January 21, 2022. Phyllis was 95 years old.
Phyllis was born and raised in the North Park community of San Diego, California to William D. Russell and Edrie E. Sawyer, and was the only child of the couple.
Phyllis had many wonderful longtime friends, each highly respected and accomplished members of society. She was always very proud of her friends. She was related to Sherriff Bill Gore of San Diego County, whom she was very proud of.
Phyllis loved life and SHINED during her life. She was a beautiful [self-made] woman full of goodness! She earned it by living her life with integrity and clarity and having great values, character, and broad and deep intellect. She was spiritual person with a pure heart and good soul. To me she was a perfect woman!
Phyllis was a happy person with a lively and vivacious personality and an iconic laughter. She lived her life with great attitude and a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, she was an amazingly strong woman. I admired her inner strength and her grace during hard times. (We all have a few things wrong with us. But when I think about Phyllis I honestly can’t think of anything about her that I did not like!)
Phyllis was a wonderful woman who was a model citizen of the world. She was good to people, kind to animals and friend of our environment. Phyllis was a trail blazer and a leader. She stood for and (in many ways) fought for human rights, equal rights, civil rights and racial equality! I loved and admired who she was and all that she stood for. When I talk to friends and family about Phyllis, I STAND TALL and PROUD, holding my head up with admiration for her, and feeling warmth in my heart. In fact, over the years, the more I got to know her, the more I admired and respected her.
My dear friend had a deep curiosity and kept her mind active all throughout her life. She was an avid reader and it seemed she was always finishing up reading one book while starting on the next one. She liked to spend quality time with her close friends, specially dining out and going to theatre or movies. She had many personal interests including theatre, arts and science, politics, mystery, universe/astronomy, ancient history and traveling. She traveled extensively in Europe, US, Canada and historical sites in Mexico. Phyllis and I had a lot of good memories of many vacations we took together.
Phyllis had many career interests including journalism, public relations, history, and psychology. However, in mid-years of her career, she successfully pursued a career as an editor/writer working for large publishing companies! Her interest in writing and editing goes back to her college years at San Diego State University, where she led the team creating an SDSU yearbook in 1949! In addition to many book projects, she was a part of the team that worked on Encyclopedia Britannica! Before invention of internet, I used to call her my walking encyclopedia; I would ask her about any subject and she was able to help me out! Earlier in her career, she served in US military (as a civilian) in Germany after WWII for 2 years. (This position required some public speaking. I loved and admired her courage and strength to put herself in a public speaking position despite her occasional stuttering issue! Speaks volumes about her courage.)
Phyllis was close to my heart and I loved her dearly. She was my dearest friend, mentor and my family. I have been so blessed and fortunate to have her in my life! We met in La Mesa, CA over 40 years ago and we have been very close since. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend as she was always [unimaginably] good to me! I regularly wished for having her in my life from my birth [instead of my 20s].
Unfortunately, our time together was way too short. She was my shining star who gave me strength all throughout my adult life. I miss her dearly.
Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Aug. 21, 2022.