Development & Alumni Relations Office 


Margaret Joan Russell (née Alexander), BA (died 8 November 2019, aged 90)


Obituary provided by husband, Maurice Russell


Having entered Queen’s University in 1947 to study English Joan graduated with a Gold Medal in 1951. She embarked immediately on a teaching career in English in Princess Gardens School (later named Hunterhouse), before joining the staff of her old school, Victoria College. Former pupils have acknowledged their love of poetry and literature to her inspirational enthusiasm.


Joan was involved in wider aspects of education as a governor of her old school and membership of the Governing Bodies Association of Grammar Schools. As Chair of the Victoria College Board she was heavily involved in co-ordinating its amalgamation with Richmond School, thereby enhancing the Department of Education’s wider academic curriculum for the benefit of the students from both schools.


Having retired temporarily from teaching while her family of two sons and a daughter were growing up, she returned to teach A-Level English at Bloomfield Collegiate School. Her family are all graduates in their chosen careers.


Joan's voluntary work included the Abbeyfield Society, as treasurer of her House Committee and Chair of the Society’s Belfast Committee. In her church she created the Friendship Group for the visiting of lonely housebound members. Through her love of literature, she was a member and later secretary of the Belfast Reading Circle, continuing to attend its meetings despite deteriorating eyesight and progressive ill health.


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