Farming Rural 04

Mary Patria (Lee) Russell

July 8, 1933 ~ July 4, 2022 (age 88)


Mary Patria Lee Russell, 88, of Liberty passed away July 4th, 2022. She was born July 8, 1933, in Casey County, daughter of the late Bee and Mary Foster Lee.

Patria attended Campbellsville College and was a University of Kentucky graduate. Her first job was hauling lumber from their mill to Campbellsville for her dad. She did some student teaching and went on to work for KU in Campbellsville as a Home Economist. She went to Augsburg, Germany with her husband Gary, while he served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. She worked as a Home Demonstration Agent for KU in London, a Counselor for the TN Dept of Employment Security in Chattanooga, and wrapped up her professional career managing several Medical Practice Management offices.

Patria married her soulmate of 63 years, Gary Russell, on March 19, 1954. They explored the world, worked hard, made lifelong friendships, and loved the life they made together. Patria adored her family and treasured her friends. She was the consummate homemaker; wonderful cook and baker, seamstress, and decorator. Her hobbies included china painting, stained glass, needlework, reading, genealogy, antiquing, refinishing furniture, gardening, walking on stilts, and playing in the dirt. Her Christmas and Derby parties were the highlight of the season. She was at home on the farm, at the campground, or in the boardroom.

After retiring, she moved back to Liberty and built a house on her homeplace. She reconnected with friends and schoolmates and spent time with family; several reunions were held at her home where stories were shared and tall tales were swapped. She was a master gardener and was renowned for both her grit and pickle plantations. She was a member of the Liberty United Methodist Church where she served on many committees and could always be found in the kitchen. She was a true Southern, Classic Lady that lived her life with passion and grace. She will be missed by all that knew her and remembered with smiles.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Gary, and her son, Gary Mark Russell, her brothers, Everette and Charles Marion Lee, and her sister, Anna Grace Murphy.

She is survived by a daughter, Leeann Foster Russell, of Memphis, Tn, a grandson, John Mark (Amanda) Russell, of Richmond, Ky, and two great grandchildren, Jolynn and Liberty.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date and the burial will be private. Memorial contributions can be made to the Casey County Library in lieu of flowers. Arrangements are entrusted to McKinney-Brown Funeral Home. An online guestbook as well as a video tribute are available at

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