Cecil Russell Clemons

April 10, 1934 - December 23, 2022
Cecil Russell Clemons

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Cecil Russell Clemons (born April 10, 1934) died peacefully in her home in Hendersonville, NC on December 23, 2022. Her husband of 65 years, Col. Joseph Gordon Clemons Jr., preceded her in death in 2018.
Cecil was born in Charlotte NC, the third of five children. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Charlotte, Williamsburg VA, Durham NC, Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone, Washington DC, and lived as a child on Blythe Street in Hendersonville.
Cecil was known as a deeply feeling person. She had an astute ability to measure the world and its flaws. She built her life on her positive, caring spirit and became loved by everyone who knew her. In her younger years her compassionate character, combined with extraordinary good looks, sometimes obscured her yearning to find creative self-fulfillment.
In 1951, at eighteen, she married Joseph Gordon Clemons Jr. shortly before he was sent to the Korean War. Upon his return, he and Cecil spent a colorful time in Hollywood while Joe was the technical advisor during the making of the movie Pork Chop Hill. They traveled extensively, called Hawaii home for more than 20 years, sailed their 44-foot yawl from San Diego to Hawaii to Tahiti, and cruised the outer islands. Cecil embraced the cultural richness and natural beauty of island life through her lifestyle, culinary skills, and love of entertaining.
In midlife Cecil took possession of her dreams and became a professional artist. Her paintings are fresh, color-drenched, evocative, and whimsical. A bit of visual storytelling slips in; sometimes a bit of humor. Her work has been shown in spaces that include Asheville Art Gallery, North Carolina Museum of Art, Kudzu Antiques in Atlanta, and shows in Raleigh NC and Abingdon VA. She is represented in various private collections.
Retiring in Hendersonville created a rich new life, including friendships acquired through St. James Episcopal Church. Cecil cherished her Dream Group, her Art Group and “The Garter Girls.” She travelled to attend spirit-based workshops and annual trips to the Russell family reunion in Winder, GA were an integral part of her life. Through the years, Cecil trained and showed standard poodles. As her health declined, she noted that perhaps the dog whose companionship she most missed was her merry, beautiful white Isis, who was (mostly) a very good girl.
Cecil is survived by her children, Michael Joseph Clemons of Macon GA, Susannah Russell Kalei Clemons of Kaneohe, HI, and Joseph Gordon Clemons III and wife Elizabeth, of Luxembourg. She is also survived by ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and by her sister, Ina Russell of Loveland CO, her brother, Pierre Russell and wife Kim of Decatur GA, and many Russell family members including her well-loved cousin Virginia Russell of Statesboro GA.
Cecil will be interred next to her husband Joe in the Russell Family Cemetery in Winder, GA on June 22, 2023. She joins her parents, Walter and Dorothea Russell, and two siblings who preceded her: Emily Russell Campbell of Atlanta and Lt. Col. Walter B. Russell of Stone Mountain GA, and her uncle, U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell, along with other loved and remembered family members.

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  • February 10, 2023
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