Born: November 18, 1953
Died: June 16, 2013
In 1974 Mary came with great excitement and anticipation to Amite, Louisiana, by way of Las Vegas, Nevada, to marry her sweetheart, Weldon. They both openly admit that when they met, it was love at first sight for both of them. While here, Mary won hearts and friends left and right, until her untimely death on Father's Day, June 16, 2013. Thrilled with her engagement and husband to be in the rural South ("everything is so green"), Mary, with prevailing smiles, unassumed modesty and an innocent dash of "Yankee" determination decided that she and Weldon would be married at Camp Moore, a Confederate cemetery in Tangipahoa Parish. It was done. Mary was voluntarily converted into a devout Southern Woman. Mary was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Amite where she had delighted in teaching Sunday School for many years. Profoundly involved in their lives, Mary is survived by her husband, Robert Weldon Russell, III, her son Robert Weldon Russell, IV and her daughter, Bridget Russell Hebert and husband Eric and beloved grandchildren Conrad Blaine and Colin Bridges Hebert and Izebella Claire and Robert Weldon Russell, V ("Quintin"). Mary is also survived by her sister, Linda Joy Martinez (Midland Texas) and her brothers, Michael Blaine Furniss (Atlanta, Georgia) and David Lamar Furniss (Las Vegas, Nevada). She is pre-deceased by her son, Blaine Lamar Russell (1979-1982), father, Blaine Lamar Furniss, mother, Mary Ann Vreeland Furniss and sister, Debbie Sue Merill. Mary was a regular blood donor and supporter of the Salvation Army and St. Jude Children's Hospital. She attended Southeastern Louisiana University and worked there in the Student Loan Department. Widely traveled and a voracious reader of historical novels, Mary passionately enjoyed kayaking the Tangipahoa River with friends, picnicking and camping at her farm "Marywel" with her grandchildren and family. She dearly loved gardening and teaching her grandchildren and spending long summer days basking and swimming in the cool calming waters of Big Creek near Amite. Locally, Mary was a founding member of the Amite Junior Auxillary, a member of the Amite Stem and Stamen Garden Club (she loved it) and the inspiration of Town of Amite City Bi-Centennial Celebration and Amite's First and Second Oyster Festivals. Mary's memberships in professional organizations include the International Rights of Way Association and Louisiana Realtors Association. She was an expert witness in the field of real estate appraisal in Louisiana and Mississippi courts of law, a Louisiana Real Estate Broker and founder of Appraisal Associates of Louisiana and Atlas Appraisals. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until funeral service at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite. Interment will follow at Amite Memorial Gardens, Amite. For an online guestbook, visit www.mckneelys.com. “What though the radiance which was once so bright, Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour, Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind. - William Wordsworth, Ode on Intimations of Immortality.