Gloria Collins Russell, 84, of Wilbraham, MA, passed away surrounded by family in Falmouth on January 30, 2020. She was born on October 6, 1935 in Homerville, GA, the daughter of Charles and Virginia Collins. Gloria attended Women’s College of the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina.
Gloria married James K. Russell on March 17, 1956 in South Carolina. They moved to Wilbraham, MA in 1957, not long after the birth of twin sons Charles and Peter.
Two other children, David and Rebecca, followed. Gloria went back to college in the mid 1970s, ultimately graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Master’s degree in Art History.
Throughout Gloria’s dedicated career in the Arts she was known for her charismatic energy, insight and advocacy. Gloria wrote the “Speaking of Art” column for the Springfield Republican Newspaper. She also taught Art History at Springfield College. She was active on numerous boards of the Springfield Museums including the Art Collections Committee and the Museums Committee, was a contributing writer to the museum’s American Catalogue, and was a popular lecturer for the Museum’s a la Carte Art Lecture Series.
Gloria dedicated enormous amounts of time and energy to the Springfield Public Television Station, WGBY. She served for many years as the presenter at WGBY art auctions. Additionally, she served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Tribunes, and the Art, Development and Marketing Committees. For her passion and dedication to WGBY, Gloria was awarded the Mary Alice Rogers award in 2011, and in 2014 she was given the prestigious award of Life Membership to the Board of Tribunes.
Gloria was a member of Wilbraham United Church for well over 50 years, serving as Chair of both the Governing Board and the Search Committee. An avid gardener, she was President of the Wilbraham Garden Club and Editor of the Newsletter. She was active with the summer youth music program, Musicorda, serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. She also served in the elected position of Trustee for Wilbraham Public Library until her move to Falmouth in 2017.
She was predeceased by her parents Charles and Virginia, and her husband James. Gloria is survived by her brother Mike Collins of Portland OR, her son Charles and his wife Carolyn of W. Newbury MA, son Peter of San Francisco CA, son David and his wife Shelley of Crested Butte CO, and daughter Rebecca and her husband Sean of Falmouth MA. She is also survived by her beloved grandchildren: Alison, Dylan, Liza, Isabel and Cecilia.
A memorial service will be held at Wilbraham United Church at 1 PM on Saturday, June 13, 2020. Donations in her memory may be made to WGBY, 44 Hampden St. Springfield, MA 01103, or to the Museum School or A la Carte program at the Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St. Springfield, MA 01103
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