Elzina Russel

Obituary of Elzina Grace Russel


Born to Nora Isabel (Philp) and Mervyn John K. Allen in Vancouver, BC in 1922, died at home in Toronto on January 30, 2022. 


Beloved wife of Archibald D. Russel, deceased, and mother to Philip Russel (Martha), Suzanne Philip (Kim), Hugh Russel (Cheryl), Jeffrey Russel (Lynda Lemberg), and Guy Russel (Bobby Biro).  Grandmother to Denni Russel (Manal), Nicole Russel (Allard Schipper), Eric Philip (Leah Campbell), Nona Philip (Jaimie Bourgeois), Adam Russel (Shelby Williams), Dana Russel (Claudio Medina), Hayley Russel (Jonathan Matson), and Sasha Lemberg-Pelly. Aunt to Peter Russel (Judy) and Gail Gorman (John). Great-grandmother to Madeleine Russel, Devyn Russel, Griffin Russel Ware, Beckett Russel Schipper, Daelyn Erion, Isabelle Philip and Quinn Philip and Jack Bourgeois, Josie Bourgeois, and Evelyn Matson.


Mum was a trained singer and before he met her, Dad heard her singing as he entered the family home in Montreal. It made quite an impression, because months later they were married in Vancouver, just after her 19th birthday. Throughout their 72 year marriage they made music and the arts a core part of our family. While Dad was a sculptor, Mum was a painter. She was also a compassionate volunteer and a member of The Junior League of Toronto. Her voluntarism went beyond as she painted story book characters on the walls of a ward for children with HIV at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas and at the age of 90 was face painting at the Leaside Rotary Corn Roast.


She loved gardening and her condo was not limiting, with gardens outside and inside. Not only was she an avid reader, but she had a mind that absorbed detail and could converse about almost anything. When Dad was writing his books, she decided, “Why not?” and wrote a book of her own.


She was a dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who was always thinking of – and worrying about – everyone in the family.


She started to use computers in her ‘80s and, until shortly before her death, she found entertainment on YouTube, downloaded and read books, played local or remote games of Spite and Malice and was able to keep in touch with everyone using FaceTime throughout the COVID pandemic.


Particular thanks to the caregivers and support team at Integracare who have cared for both Mum and Dad in their years needing assistance. Thank you to Dr. Mike Matthews for his understanding support for Mum over the last few years and Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care for making her last days as peaceful as possible. We would also like to thank the people at King’s Landing who made life easier: Scott Wickware, Eno, Mark, Raymond and Peter.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to The Toronto Commandery Hospice, https://ttch.org/giving.php. Funeral services will be private, with a celebration of life to be held at a later date. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.


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