Vera "Imogene" Russell



Vera “Imogene” Russell

December 18, 1926 — August 24, 2019

Vera “Imogene” Russell, 92, passed away Aug. 24, 2019, in San Saba, Texas. She was born on Dec. 18, 1926, one of five siblings born to Roscoe Conklin and Vera A Williams Russell.

Imogene never married, instead devoted her life to others and was always the caregiver in all instances: education, home life and friends.

Imogene was always in the action, growing up around “guys,” she played football with them and was also a cheerleader in school. She attended school in Kermit and Granbury, Texas and graduated in the top 25% of her class on May 20, 1943. She then attended Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and also attended and graduated from Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in Biology and Physical Education. She received her Masters Degree in Microbiology from the University of Texas in Austin.

Her first job was at a movie theater. She then went to work with Civil Service at the Pampa Army Air Field as a Clerk-Typist in the Medical division from 1944 – 1946. She then worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque as a Medical Technologist and St. Joseph Hospital as a Bacteriologist, Instructor and Assistant Director of School of Medical Technology from June 1951 – June 1954. She then changed her profession from the medical field to the education field, teaching at Manzano High School, Albuquerque High School, Valley High School and the Career Enrichment Center from which she retired.

As an educator, Imogene was awarded for her many accomplishments. She received the Science Teacher Award from the State of New Mexico; was awarded the Outstanding Biology Teacher of New Mexico by the National Biology Teachers Association in 1966; a member of Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, elected 1967; a Fellow at the New Mexico Academy of Sciences since 1970; a member of Phi Delta Kappa, elected 1979; and was awarded the Outstanding Science Teacher in 1982 from the Sigma Xi Research Society of the University of New Mexico.

Imogene had extensive experience as a curriculum development leader. She directed the development of the science curriculum at the Career Enrichment Center. She designed and conducted the curriculum in Microbiology and Epidemiology, developed the basic curricular plans for the CED science department, established the Community Advisory Council to assist in future programs, and chaired the State Department of Education’s Career Advisory Council which included a needs assessment, state-wide, which led to the formulation of a State plan for career education, resulting in a Federal Grant of $5 million for the plan. She designed, negotiated, and managed the Summer Student Research Assistants Program between the CEC-APS and the University of New Mexico Schools of Medicine, Arts and Sciences and Engineering. She also formulated and implemented the summer school program for gifted middle school students for APS.

Imogene was also responsible for many other programs and services, including: Curriculum development, formulating a calendar for the academic year to increase the efficient use of student time; chair person of Sciences and Microbiology and Epidemiology; she developed, taught and evaluated curriculum for advanced courses in Microbiology and Epidemiology; designed and equipped department facilities; directed the development of course offerings and managed the department budget, establishing inventory and maintenance.

Her life was dedicated to others, her professional life was to excel and be there for those that she worked with, assisting in learning in school and or tutored in life. Her life also was to be the aunt that everyone responded to with admiration and she was always an example of how we should live and be there for others. Imogene grew up at home with her parents and siblings and back in that time, home included many cousins from other aunts and uncles and her mother’s siblings. Imogene’s mother was a mother to anyone and everyone; there were no boundaries in her love and so it was with Imogene. Imogene lost her father at a young age, she was just out of college and when he passed; she and her mother lived together. Over the next 52 years, she became the caregiver to her mom until she was just weeks away from her 102nd birthday.

Imogene opened her home to any and all that needed a place to be while they came to Albuquerque for medical treatments for heart conditions, eye conditions and cancer treatments and other conditions.

She came back to Texas to live in 2009, living in Llano, Texas. Even after the situations continued, Imogene offered assistance to the nurses at the San Saba Nursing and Rehab, offering her knowledge of Microbiology. Imogene has always been unique and continued to be so her life through. We are grateful to all those that took care of her these past few years.

Imogene is survived by her brother, Rex Russell; nieces and nephews: K. Carol Hamilton, Donna Crenwelge, Paul W. Bagwell, Sharron D. Russell, Michael Russell, Dennis Russell, Bonnie Burnworth-Hufnagel; and numerous grand-nieces and nephews.

Her parents; her siblings, James Russell, Lahoma J. Russell-Cook and Roscoe C. Russell, Jr.; and one nephew, James W. Russell Jr. preceded her in death.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home, Marble Falls, Texas. Burial will be at Tow Cemetery, Tow, Texas.

Online condolences may be made at

Imogene was a most gracious and giving lady, truly her brother’s keeper.

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