Cover photo for Dorothy Vernon Russell's Obituary
Dorothy Vernon Russell Profile Photo
1927 Dorothy 2021

Dorothy Vernon Russell

October 16, 1927 — January 16, 2021

Mrs. Vernon Breland Russell


Dorothy Vernon Breland Russell, 93, passed away at her home near Holly Hill, SC early on Saturday, January 16, 2021.

Born to Mary Welch Breland and Jacob Murray Breland, Sr. in Holly Hill on October 16, 1927, she was one of six devoted siblings, and lived her entire life in Holly Hill. She is survived by her youngest brother, Glen Breland of Lancaster, SC. Her other brothers and sisters were Murray Breland, Jr., Betty Breland Dantzler, Miriam Breland Hildreth, and Dr. Breece Breland.

Known to family and friends as Punky, she attended Holly Hill schools and Winthrop College, and grew up in The First Baptist Church of Holly Hill. After her marriage to the late James M. Russell, Jr., in 1948, she joined Target Methodist Church where she taught Bible School and Sunday School and made many dear friends. Miss Punky lived in her home on the Russell Farm for seventy-three years, raising her family, cooking and making caramel cakes and cinnamon rolls, tending her yard and garden, and hosting family Christmas and Easter celebrations.

She was devoted to her family and was a wonderful mother. She is survived by her four children and their spouses: Christel and Rick Carpenter, Faye and Jerry Gardner, Jim and Glenda Russell, and Jill and Richard Drake, all of Holly Hill, who don't know what they will do without their sweet Mama.

Each grandchild thought they were Gram's favorite and she loved them dearly. She will be missed so much by Caroline C. and Andras Bende, Leslie C. Edwards, Glen Gardner, Brett and Jessica Gardner, Erin R. and Jim Gaine, Jason and Jenn Russell, and "her little girls", twins Sabrina and Samantha Salley. Each great-grandchild was her "Precious" and they loved the stacks of old toys she kept for them to enjoy and her supply of Nilla Wafers. Great Gram was pretty special to Hunter and Miller Gardner, Elle and Mary Cait Gaine, Quinn Bende, baby Finley Russell, and Anna Claire and John Edwards.

Aunt Punky is survived by a special niece, Mary Jane Crawford and her family, and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins who meant so much to her throughout her life.

A group of the most dedicated caregivers gave Miss Punky so much comfort and love during her final years. The entire family thanks Margaree Waring, Lillian Russell, Dorothy Prezzy, Joann Howell, Wanda Davis, and Ivory Pearson for being the special friends they are. Grove Park Hospice nurses provided support and caring when needed the most and we thank them also.

Services will be private.

Memorials may be sent to Target United Methodist Church, PO Box 1303, Holly Hill, SC 29059.

Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Avinger Funeral Home, 2274 Eutaw Rd., Holly Hill, SC 29059, (803) 496-3434.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy Vernon Russell, please visit our flower store.

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