Helen Marie (Gamble) Russell

Helen Marie (Gamble) Russell joined her heavenly family on May 16, 2017. The daughter of Charlton (Tuck) Gamble and Dottie (Musser) Gamble Sullivan she was born at her family’s home on Maple Street in Plattsburg, Mo on January 2 1925. She was a 1942 graduate of Plattsburg High School and lived her entire life in Plattsburg except for about a year during WWII. Helen married Max Russell on September 7, 1943 while Max was home on leave from the US Navy during World War II. Max predeceased her in 1988. She was also predeceased by her parents, a daughter Marsha Russell Hild, grandson Ryan Dean Hendricks, son-in-law Robert L Harris, Sr., and brothers Robert (Bob) Gamble, William (Bill) Gamble and Don Gamble. Helen is survived by her daughter Sheila Russell Harris, Plattsburg, Mo, grandson Robert L Harris, Jr., and wife Pam, Smithville, Mo., granddaughter Shonna Harris, Plattsburg, Mo, grandson Seth Robert Hendricks and wife Emily, St. Joseph, Mo., great-granddaughters Brittney Phillips (Cody), Bailey, Sierra and Brooke Eason, great-granddaughters Jordan and Megan Harris, great grandson Blaine Eason, great-grandsons Kason and Aiden Ferguson and great-great granddaughter Aubrey.

Most people living around Plattsburg and many in Clinton County would know or at least recognize the name Helen Russell. She was somewhat of a legend. After spending 39 years serving as the Circuit Clerk and Recorder of Deeds for Clinton County Helen retired in 1990. However, with what she accomplished after retirement …..going back to work would have been more like a vacation. Upon retiring she further developed her already deep interest in Clinton County history and genealogy research and for many years has been known as the Clinton County Historian and genealogist for Clinton County. She compiled local cemetery records and Clinton County obituaries from The Leader beginning with the year 1895 and still collected the Clinton County obituaries out of the St. Joseph News Press on a daily basis up until the date of her death. She compiled over 22,000 Clinton County obituaries comprised in twenty volumes. This did not just consist of cutting them out and putting them in binders. This consisted of cutting them out or scanning them into her computer, copying them onto sheets of paper, alphabetizing them and giving them Volume and page numbers, entering them into a master list on her computer, placing them in sheet protectors then finally putting them into binders. That must not have been keeping her busy enough because in 2009 at the age of 84 Helen decided that the stories of the Clinton County Veterans from World War II had not been sufficiently remembered and they must not be forgotten. At that time she realized that the job of keeping those stories alive was going to be up to her. Those veterans were from her era. They were her friends, her classmates, her family and her late husband. She jumped in and started gathering old Leader articles from 1940 through 1946 and published a book called “My Scrapbook History of World War II Veterans.”

Helen was an instrumental part of Plattsburg’s historic Sesquicentennial. She was also instrumental in organizing the Annual Plattsburg Alumni Banquet, which will be celebrating its 33rd year on May 27, 2017. For years Helen was a very active member of the Sweet Adeline’s, a member of Guild and PEO and she was an extremely dedicated member of The Broadway United Methodist Church her entire life. She taught Sunday school for many years, sang in the choir, directed the youth choir, was a member of UMW and participated in any and every function the church was involved in along with countless other organizations. Helen was the person to contact for tours of the Clinton County Historical Society/Plattsburg museum and did genealogy searches for folks all over the US. Over the years she taught several students around Plattsburg piano lessons including her grand-children and great grand-children. In 2016 for the second time she received the Plattsburg Chamber of Commerce “Person of the Year Award.” She was actually nominated for it another time a few years back, however she refused it because she had been honored with it before and thought it should go to someone else, so the 2016 honor had to be kept a secret from her. In 2003 Helen was featured in a New York Time’s article about volunteering in Plattsburg and has been featured in numerous other articles over the years.

Helen spent the better portion of her life giving to and serving the community of Plattsburg and Clinton County. Up until age 89 Helen was the “designated driver” to take her elderly friends to doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, church, clubs or any other place they needed to be. Or it might just be to drive herself and Marilyn Cover up to St. Joe to get a Cappuccino Blast. She spent literally hundreds of thousands of hours donating her time and energy to her church, the Clinton County Historical Society, the Senior Center, delivering Meals on Wheels, supporting the Food Pantry, the 4-C’s, the Community Courtyard, and numerous other organizations she was involved with, along with compiling history, genealogy and obituary records. In the fall of 2014 Helen choose to make her home at Oakridge of Plattsburg due to her failing health and several bouts with pneumonia.

A Celebration of Helen’s life and Healing Farewell will be held Saturday May 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm at the Performing Arts Center located at the Plattsburg High School. The family will gather with friends following the service from 2pm until 3:30PM at the Performing Arts Center with interment service following at the Green Lawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Plattsburg Senior Citizens Center, the Clinton County Historical Society/Plattsburg or the Broadway United Methodist Church. Arrangements Bailey & Cox Family Funeral Service Plattsburg MO. Online obituary and guestbook at www.baileycox.com
Russell Helen obit photo

Offer Condolence for the family of Helen Marie (Gamble) Russell

Messages of Condolence

  1. Sondra O'Connor says:

    Plattsburg has lost a wonderful lady!
    My condolences to the family.

  2. Sue Smith says:

    A wonderful friend & lady. Condolence to the family.

  3. Rosalind Jorn says:

    When I think of Helen the words, “good soul” come to mind immediately. Helen was loving, generous, kind and strong.I am lucky to have enjoyed her friendship!

  4. ronald hoggatt says:

    Sheila, we are very sorry for the loss of your mother.

  5. Bev Adam Hartland says:

    I enjoyed getting to know Helen while working on the PCHS Alumni Committee. A very sweet and dedicated lady.

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