Friday, November 14, 2014


Back in 1998, I was active on the Russell Rootsweb list.  One day, a woman named Jeanne posted a query.  She was asking about Allen George Russell who was a pilot and worked for Howard Hughes for a time.  That's about all she said.

I read that query and said to myself, "There couldn't be two!"  I wrote back and told her that I thought she was talking about my great uncle Allen George Russell who was born in Fallbrook, California in 1900.  I also said that, besides having worked for Howard Hughes, he was also the personal pilot for William Randolph Hearst for years -- and a few more facts.  I had no idea why she was looking for him. 

She wrote back and said, "That's him and he was my father!"  Let me tell you, that was a surprise!  I thought I knew all of Great Uncle Allen's wives and children.  After exchanging additional email, I learned that she was born to a wife that no one in family knew -- and that, apparently, it was bigamy!  I was able to put Jeanne in touch with her three living brothers and I organized a family reunion so she could come to Fallbrook and meet everyone.  She was so excited!  

The first time I saw Jeanne, I knew she was a Russell.  She looked a great deal like my grandmother (her aunt).   Jeanne became a friend.  I loved her and I will always be grateful that I was able to introduce her to her family.  Jeanne passed away in 2013.  I was able to see her a couple of  months before she died and I went to a memorial service for her at the end of the Seal Beach Pier.  May you always rest in peace, Jeanne!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Susan. Thank you for writing about Jeanne. I did not have the pleasure of meeting her, but I did talk to her on the phone and she sent me several letters/photos and emails before she passed away. She loved Oceanside. I believe she said ... she and her husband used to go to Oceanside. She had such fond memories of being there. You are right, she was very, very sweet.