Sophia “Sophie” R. Russell, 64 of Dover, Delaware passed away on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at Kent General Hospital after a courageous battle with cancer. Sophie was born November 22, 1947 in Dover to Mildred Williams and the late Charles Woodward.
She was a graduate of William Henry High School and the Nursing Assistant Program at Delaware Technical and Community College. She also attended Delmarva Theological Christian College.
Ms. Russell retired from East Wind Industries Corporation in 1999 and at that point began to pursue her interest in civic involvement. She has served with numerous organizations, including the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (she was the current At-Large Vice President of Region 3), the Central Delaware Branch of the NAACP (receiving an Achievement Award for Distinguished Leadership in Civil Rights and Equality in 2005), and the President and Co-Founder of the New Street Civic Association. She was also very active in the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World (IBPOEW) and has held the position of Daughter Ruler of the Pride of Dover Temple 784 for over 30 years. Ms. Russell was also a member of St. Matthew’s Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation Electa Chapter #6, State and Jurisdiction of Delaware in her role as Worthy Matron, Second Assistant Chaplain, Overseer of Christmas Giving for District #2 and the Grand Youth Felicities for the State of DE.
Ms. Russell was elected as Dover City Councilwoman for District 4 in 2005. She has served as a member of the Parks, Recreation, and Community Enhancement Committee since 2005, and as the chairperson since May of 2007, she was also a member of the Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee. One of her greatest accomplishments while in office was being able to participate in the creation of the new Dover Public Library. She also serves on the Board of the Downtown Dover Partnership and the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing. She was a member of Jerusalem Baptist Church with Rev. V.Z. Holmes on Jerusalem Way in Dover.
Ms. Russell has a particular passion for the interests of young people. She has been instrumental in the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee for the City of Dover to promote youth involvement in government, and took great pride in her work with the youth in her group. She has been involved in many organizations throughout Dover which are aimed at reducing at-risk behavior amongst youth. She was also a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) through Delaware’s Family Court program and served with the Delaware Foster Grandparent Program.
Sophia Russell has devoted her life to serving as an advocate for the underprivileged. Her primary focus has been to restore family values to the children of today and to demonstrate by example that each individual has the opportunity to make a difference in their community. Anyone who has ever been in contact with Sophie realizes just how special she was. She will be missed by so many in our community.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition to her father, she is preceded in death by her son Terrance Reed.
She is survived by her mother, Mildred Williams, her son Charles Reed (Shreveport, LA), her grandson Kean Reed (Whiteman Air Force Base, MO); two sisters Mary Smith (Dover, DE) and Helen Walker (Upper Marlboro, MD) and one brother James Barnett (Jessup, MD). She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held at Pippin Funeral Home in Wyoming on Friday October 12, 2012 from 5:00-9:00 pm. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday October 13th at Calvary Baptist Church on Route 8 and Victory Chapel Road in Dover. Burial will commence immediately following at Barratt’s Chapel Cemetery 6362 Bay Road, Frederica, DE. Friends may then return to Calvary Baptist Church after burial for the repast.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Make A Wish Foundation, 3411 Silverside Rd., The Welden Bldg., Suite 104, Wilmington, DE 19810 or St. Jude’s Children Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
Letters of condolences can be sent via www.pippinfuneralhome.com.