A Phenomenal Woman
On December 20, 2021 Irene Olivia Russell (Queen Nilaja Ogunwale), a child of God spread her wings and departed into her Lord and Savior arms. She is now free from pain, suffering and sickness.
Irene Olivia Russell (Queen Nilaja Ogunwale) was born February 8, 1952 in Philadelphia, Pa. to the late Theodore and Lillian Williams. Irene was the fourth child of ten children.
Irene received her education in the Philadelphia Public School System. She later graduated and received her diploma from The School for Executive Secretary.
Irene or Reenie as she was affectionately known, accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior and was baptize at an early age at Williams Temple Church where she sung on the church choir.
Irene relocated to Pittsburg where she met her late husband Victor Russell and was joined in holy matrimony. From this union their son Victor Russell was born. He preceded her in death after moving back to Philadelphia. Later Irene had three other children George Russell (Manzie), Sheryl Russell and David Garrett, he also preceded her in death.
Irene was employed for sixteen years as an Executive Secretary for Tri State Heating and Cooling Company and Douglas Foster and Company. Using those same skills to help her community. Irene along with 5 other friends founded the Friends of Stinger Square in 1998 & then became employed by RHD while still maintaining her position as President of Friends of Stinger Square and working at Woodstock Women’s Shelter. Irene became Recreation Leader at Stinger Square Park and accomplished many things there. At her time at Stinger Square Park, she also dedicated her time & love to Finnegan Playground, helping to reutilize & rejuvenate our youth. Irene maintained 20 years of no violence in the park. It is also because of her vision and love for the park that Philadelphia School of Design has designed her vision of summer time all year around for Stinger Square...called a Geodome. She received in honor of all of the great work throughout the years a street named Irene Russell Way in her honor on September 8th 2021. She also received a Citation from the Council of the City of Philadelphia & Septa for her phenomenal work & leadership in the community during the Women on the Move luncheon for Women’s History Month. Irene retired from Park and Recreation November, 2021.
Irene was A Phenomenal Woman, who was sooo… full of life. She loved her family 1st, adored & loved her close friends to the moon. She was a loving and caring mother and grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She also loved to party, an avid lover of oldies, music, singing, dancing, blowing her whistle and shaking her tambourines, reading, writing especially her poems. Irene was well versed in historical events, past and present. She would engage in discussions on various subjects. She was a people person who loved her community & lived & breathed Stinger Square Park. Her doors was open to everyone. Up until her later years she enjoyed riding her bike & swimming.
The Queen Irene Olivia Russell (Nilaja Ogunwale)
Will be greatly missed
Irene was preceded in death by her two sons, Victor Russell and David Garrett,
six siblings, Steven Brighton, Albert Scott, Theodore Williams, George Scott, Jesse Williams, Cassandra Williams and one adopted sister Nafeesah Wilkins.
Irene leaves to cherish loving memories to: her son, George Russell; her daughter, Sheryl Russell; two sisters, Helene Scott and Faye Williams; one brother, Tyrone Scott; nine grandchildren, Steven Chamblee, Denovian Williams, Antonette Russell, Latoya Martin, Nydia Chisolm, Ma'Asia Russell, Khamil Morgan, Shaquil Morgan, Basil Russell; ten great grandchildren and a host of family and friends
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Irene Olivia "Queen Nilaja Ogunwale" Russell, please visit our floral store.