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Jean Russell, wife of Erk, dies
Russell mug
Jean Russell - photo by Special
    Jean Russell, beloved wife of the late Erk Russell, passed away Thursday at her home in LaGrange. After living in Statesboro for more than 25 years, Russell moved to LaGrange in April to be closer to her family.
    "She was my friend and a wonderful person," said Mary Lou Robins, who played bridge weekly with Russell. "I'm so taken aback by the loss of one of my best friends. This was so surprising."
    Robins said her oldest son, Jay Russell, who is athletic director at LaGrange High School, found Russell Thursday morning.
    “The entire Georgia Southern University community expresses its condolences to the Russell family on the passing of a true Southern lady," said Georgia Southern University President Bruce Grube. "Miss Jean will be missed by many people, not only within Statesboro, but throughout the state of Georgia and college athletics.”
    Jean Russell came to Statesboro in 1981 with Erk, when he restarted the Georgia Southern football program. Erk Russell gained living legend status in Statesboro as he went on to win three national championships and establish Georgia Southern as one of the top football programs in the nation. He passed away in 2006.
    "I don't know if Jean ever recovered from his loss," Robins said. "She was his biggest fan and supporter. His loss was almost more than she could bear."
    Robins said Jean Russell had hoped to come to Statesboro last week and attend a play about Erk – "A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell. Robins said a pinched nerve in her neck kept her home, however.
    Robins said Jean Russell's "hobbies were her grandchildren and her sons. She was so proud of Jay and Rusty."
    Jean Russell is survived by her sons and 10 grandchildren. No funeral arrangement information was available Thursday night, but Robins said Russell's wish was not to have a funeral nor memorial service.