Obituaries » Sarah Anne Poole Russell

January 12, 1944 - December 20, 2018

Service Date: January 5, 2019

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Sarah Anne Poole Russell
January 12, 1944 – December 20, 2018

Sarah Anne Poole Russell, 74, of Wilson, died peacefully on Thursday, December 20, 2018 with her devoted and loving daughters by her side.

A private family burial was held on Christmas Eve morning at Maplewood Cemetery. She was laid to rest next to her late husband, Joseph D. Russell, MD. A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, 414 Sunset Road, Wilson. Following the ceremony, the family will receive visitors at a reception held at the church.

Sarah was born January 12, 1944 in Rome, Georgia to Mary Ruth (Rozier) and Carson Ray Poole, Sr. She spent the latter part of her childhood in Kinston, where she graduated from Grainger High School in 1962. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Meredith College in 1966. Following graduation, she became a 6th grade teacher and married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Dwight Russell on August 19, 1967. They were married for 50 years until his death in 2017.

Sarah was a devoted wife and mother. She supported her husband through his many years of medical training and practice and raised their two daughters. She was very involved in her community and church. She taught Sunday School classes and was a Bible Study Fellowship leader. Sarah served on the Wilson County Mental Health Association Board of Directors for many years and was an advocate for individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses.

Wanting to help people even further, at the age of 49, she returned to school to earn her graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In 1997, she graduated with a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from East Carolina University. Two years later she become a fully licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Unfortunately, she had to discontinue practice following both her husband’s heart transplant and her diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2003. Although she was a therapist for only about 5-6 years, she helped many adolescents and families at Kennedy Home and then worked with individuals, couples, and families at her private practice.

Since her childhood, Sarah has enjoyed spending time in the summer at the family cottage in Atlantic Beach. She passed this love of the beach on to her daughters and grandchildren. She also loved to travel both with her husband and her family. She owned many dogs in her lifetime, but was especially fond of her French Bulldog, Diva, who passed just two months before her.

Sarah is survived by her daughters, Stephanie Blythe Russell Bacon (John) and Meredith Leigh Russell Exum (Manning); grandchildren, Blythe and Rose Bacon and Russell and Ruth Exum; her brother Carson Ray Poole, Jr. (Diane) and her nieces, Amanda Poole Albritton and Elizabeth Poole and their children.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Dwight Russell, MD and her parents Mary Ruth and Carson Poole, Sr.

Flowers are welcome or the family requests that donations be made to the following charities, First Presbyterian Church, PO Box 3184, Wilson, North Carolina 27895 or the church of your choice; Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607; UNC Lineberger Cancer Center or North Carolina Cancer Hospital Patient and Family Support, 101 Manning Drive NC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514; East Carolina University Family Therapy Clinic, 612 E 10th Street, Greenville, North Carolina 27858 and For the Love of Dogs, 5146 Quaker Road, Wilson, North Carolina 27893.

Condolences may be directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home at

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