Nature 19

Sarah M. "Sally" (Tracy) Russell

April 3, 1938 ~ September 12, 2022 (age 84)


Sarah Memory Tracy Russell died Monday, September 12, 2022 at home surrounded by her husband of sixty-two years, James Dunn Russell, and her loving family. 

Sarah, who was always known as Sally, spent her childhood in Concord, New Hampshire as the child of Dr. Ellsworth Morton Tracy Jr. and Ruth Vernon Memory Tracy. Life in her early years revolved around her loving parents, her brother Ellsworth, summer camp at Wyonegonic Camp, and life in a small New England town. 

She attended college at Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While attending Wellesley, Sally met her future husband, James Dunn Russell from San Benito, Texas who was studying at MIT. After they both graduated, Sally and James married in Concord, New Hampshire in 1960 and returned to Texas where they resided and built a life together for sixty-two years.

Sally worked alongside her husband helping with the books of Russell Plantation as well as RP Cattle Company. She also devoted her time to her four children. Other than her family, Sally had one other love.  If not at home or working at the farm, she could be found volunteering her time at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. While volunteering at the zoo, she took on multiple roles. She taught camp classes, served as a docent, organized Zoofari for many years, and spent multiple years as president of the Board of Directors. 

Tragically, in her mid-60s, Sally was diagnosed with Alzheimer ’s disease. With the assistance of home care, Sally was able to enjoy many years with her family traveling and celebrating. The family wishes to thank their longtime housekeeper, Delia, and outstanding caregivers, Mary and Rolena, who were all devoted to Sally and gave her and the family many years of friendship and loving care. 

Sally is survived by her husband, James Dunn Russell; her four children, James Russell Jr. (Margo), Mark Russell (Denise), Frank Russell (Sandra), and Tracy Russell Thompson (Sean); her six grandchildren, Hilary, William, Abigail, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Jackson; and one great-grandchild, Roen. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Martha Jane Russell Blanton (Taylor). She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother.

Those wishing to make a donation in Sally’s memory may do so to the Gladys Porter Zoo (, 500 E. Ringgold St., Brownsville, 78520. A celebration of Sally’s life and legacy life will take place at Gladys Porter Zoo in December at a date and time to be announced.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Sarah M. "Sally" (Tracy) Russell, please visit our Tree Store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Sarah M. "Sally"

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree


Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date

Gladys Porter Zoo
500 E. Ringgold Street
Brownsville, TX 78520


Gladys Porter Zoo
500 E. Ringgold Street, Brownsville TX 78520
Tel: 1-956-546-7187

© 2022 Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy