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Mary Frances (Russell) Rutledge passed away February 19, 2019 at the age of 77. She was born October 20, 1941 to Arthur Fred Russell and Mary Pearl (Grissom) Russell in Whitewright, Texas. Frances married Obie Lee Rutledge on August 17, 1963 in Sedalia, Texas. They shared fifty-six years together before her passing.

Frances was a superb teacher who enjoyed a thirty-one-year career in three school districts, Denison, Blue Ridge, and twenty-six years at Bells ISD as a fourth-grade teacher. She was a highly educated woman. Frances graduated from Van Alstyne High School in 1960, she then continued her education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree and finally rounded out her schooling at East Texas State University where she graduated with a master’s in education. She taught and influenced thousands of students. Mrs. Rutledge was respected, admired and loved by her students. She maintained a strict classroom structure and schedule but was tender enough to see the hurts and needs of a troubled student. In retirement, she became the “Cookie Lady” preparing cookies for the youth at First Baptist Church Bells each Wednesday. She was a member of the TSTA, TRTA, Bells Retired Teachers and The Birthday Group. She thoroughly enjoyed going to weekend estate sales with her niece Carolyn. She often volunteered helping where she saw the need. Frances was a classy lady who loved to learn and loved to teach. She was a loving wife, committed educator and true friend. Frances will be dearly missed.

She is survived by her husband of fifty-six years Obie Rutledge of Bells, Texas; sister-in-law Doris Russell of Grand Prairie, Texas; sister-in-law Donna Russell of Whitesboro, Texas; sister-in-law Mollie Jo Hyepock of Richardson, Texas; numerous nieces and nephews along with a host of extended family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents A.F. “Stump” and Mary (Grissom) Russell; brothers, Rev. D. Rudalph Russell, H. Birt Russell, Jack Russell and Joe R. Russell; sister, Guana Russell Pierson; nephew Gary W. Russell and great nephew Carl A. Pierson.

A funeral service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Monday, February 25, 2019 at First Baptist Church Bells, 105 S. Pecan St, Bells, Texas 75414. A visitation will begin one hour before the service. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Whitewright, Texas.