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Barbara Giblett Russell ’53

January 1, 2021, in Bellevue, Washington.

Barbara grew up on the shore of Puget Sound in Bremerton, Washington, and her entire life loved books, trees, and “the Bay.” At Reed, she wrote her thesis, “A Study of the Reactions of 3-Oxo-4-cyano-5-methyl-2-azabicyclo (3.3.1) Nonanol,” advised by Prof. Marshall Cronyn [chemistry 1952–89] as one of very few female chemistry majors.

She met James T. Russell ’53 in high school. As the only girl in her high school advanced algebra class, Barbara had her pick of the boys but chose James. They began dating, and when they were making college decisions, each—independently of the other—decided on Reed. They decided that was part of the reason they belonged together, continued to date through their Reed years, and married a few months after graduation.

They moved to Richland, Washington, where Barbara worked as a chemist until their children were born. When her three children were in school, she returned to work as a scientific reference librarian at Battelle Northwest. She enjoyed long walks in the hills, opera, and classical music, and played violin in several orchestras, including the Mid-Columbia Symphony and the University of Utah Campus Symphony. She worked tirelessly for the education of junior high girls through AAUW’s Expanding Your Horizons program, and actively promoted the Equal Rights Amendment and STEM training for girls. She is survived by James, her husband of 67 years, and her three children.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2021

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