Dec. 17, 1951 - April 5, 2012
Merri Lillian Russell-Bussell, 60, of Touchet lost her two-year battle with cancer on April 5, 2012, at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla. Merri was born on Dec. 17, 1951, in Bremerton to Charles and Delma McKeever Russell.
Merri grew up in Port Orchard, Wash. She attended Givens Elementary, Marcus Whitman Junior High and went on to graduate from South Kitsap High School in 1970. She graduated with a degree in education from Western Washington University in 1974. She then went on to get her master's degree in education with a counseling endorsement from Walla Walla College in 1993. Merri was hired by the Touchet School District in August of 1974. After 38 years of teaching all facets at Touchet School District, she retired.
She was completely devoted to children, both inside and outside of the classroom. A truly loving mother, Merri would always talk about her two children, Jakob M. Bussell and Breayn R. Bussell. She always thought of her kids before herself. She did everything she could to make their experience of life a wonderful one and did a great job at it. She was at every school, church, military and sporting event that she could be at and was their #1 fan. She started keeping score for teams so she had to be there for their games. Merri was found on the sidelines of the football field, scorer's table of the basketball court and the dugout of the baseball field. Keeping score and loving every minute of it even after her children graduated.
Merri had a way of letting her students know they were loved and she was going to get the best out of them. Merri had a huge, kind heart and would always give someone a second chance. On many occasions, she let kids who were in hard times come stay in her home.
Merri truly loved her job because she truly loved kids. Not only in the classroom was she active with kids. As an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of College Place, she was found working with the children in Sunday school and vacation Bible school.
When Merri was not at the school or church, she was found reading, working on Sudoku, planning her next adventure and meeting up with friends. She loved being outside. She had a passion for the water, whether it was the beaches of Hawaii, Hood Canal on the Puget Sound or the Snake River. Her travels always seem to be where she could be around water. All of her stresses would wash away with the sound of water.
Merri was always surrounded by her friends and family wherever she went. She left a mark of love and kindness on the hearts of everyone she was around. She will be truly missed by many.
Merri is survived by her sister, Katherene "Kitti" Phillips of Port Orchard; her children, Jakob and Marcela Bussell of Fontana, Calif., and Breayn Bussell of Touchet; two grandchildren, Ariana and Isaac Bussell; nieces and nephews, Charles and Dyann Phillips and Kimberly Phillips, all of Port Orchard; great-nephews, Kevin, Zachary, Aiden and Noah Phillips all of Port Orchard. Others considered to be family by Merri are Arthur W. Bussell of Pasco; Rene Gosney of Touchet; Melanie Wilkinson of Touchet; Sarah Bussell of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Darlene and Wesley White of Vancouver; nieces and nephews, the late Tara Gosney; Beau and Vanessa Gosney of Boise; Mandy "Wa" Griffith of Sitka, Alaska; Mason and Heidi White of Vancouver; and great-niece, Olivia Gosney of Boise.
The memorial funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., on Saturday, April 14, 2012, in the main gym of Touchet High School. Memorial donations may be made to the Touchet Educational Foundation through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.com.