Joan Russ

Obituary of Joan Luck Russ

Joan Luck Russ, a longtime resident of Melbourne, Florida, died on July 30, 2023, a few days before her 92nd birthday. She was predeceased by her husband, William (Bill) Russ, a captain in the U.S. Navy (ret).


Joan grew up on her grandfather’s farm in Bedford County, Virginia, with her parents Marion Nance Luck and Joseph Nathan Luck. She graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Joan earned her Master of Science Degree from Ohio State, and did further graduate work at the University of Virginia. Joan worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, and traveled widely both in the United States and abroad, in connection with the National School Lunch Program. One of Joan’s favorite stories was about her willingness to be a test subject for the as-yet-untested polio vaccine.


Joan was very proud of her Southern and Virginia heritage, and had a keen interest in, and aptitude for, genealogical research.


Joan and Bill enjoyed spending time at their cabin on the Chesapeake Bay where they spent weekends crabbing, before retiring and relocating to Melbourne.


She is survived by her nephews, W. Russ Summerell of Roatan, Honduras; J.J. Summerell of Greensboro, NC; her niece, Berta Summerell Hamilton of Wilmington, NC; and her stepson, William R. Russ of Springfield, VA.


Burial will take place in Bedford, Virginia, at Greenwood Cemetery, on Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 2:00 pm. A brief service will precede the burial. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the SPCA of Brevard at or mailed to SPCA of Brevard, Inc., P.O Box 5513, Titusville, FL 32783-5513.

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