By Ashley Davis
This is the Mother and Child pendant that Janel Russell originally created in 1980 as a symbol of her relationship with her son. Russell died Friday at age 62.
St. Paul, Minn.--Jeweler and WJA member Janel J. (Johnson) Russell died Friday following a short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 62.

In addition to being a jeweler and business owner, Russell was one of the founding members of the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Twin Cities chapter.

In 1980, Russell designed the Mother and Child pendant, which is licensed, distributed and manufactured by Kirchner Corporation.

The abstract symbol of a parent and child is “cherished by millions of women and their families,” Russell’s obituary said.

On Russell’s website, she wrote about the pendant, stating: “Every human being has his or her own special gifts. In my own case, I’ve been blessed with my creativity and my son. And I designed the Mother and Child to celebrate the bond between us.”
20170509 obit2Janel Russell

Russell is survived by her son, Isaac (Tay) Rucci; her mother, Patricia M. Johnson (née Mattson); her brothers Guy (Cheri) and Jeff (Susan) Johnson; her sister Jody (Curt) Johnson Barsness; and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father, Farrell F. Johnson.

Sara Commers, WJA’s central regional director, said in an e-mail sent Monday by the WJA that Russell was, “a mentor, a confidante (and) a friend.”

“Janel had an incredible lust for life and tireless enthusiasm for our vibrant industry to which she dedicated her heart and soul.”

WJA President Brandee Dallow wrote in the e-mail: “I personally connected with that giant, sincere smile of Janel’s and the kind and honest way she always spoke her mind. After reading the many beautiful Facebook posts about Janel, it appears I was far from alone in these sentiments. Janel Russell was clearly one of the finest.”

A mass of Christian burial will take place Wednesday at St. Rose of Lima at 2048 N. Hamline Ave. in Roseville, Minnesota.

The mass will begin at 10 a.m. with a visitation period being held one hour before.

Donations may be sent to the Guild Incorporated, a not-for-profit corporation that provides treatment and services for people with mental illnesses.

The Guild Incorporated can be contacted by phone at (651) 450-2220 or by mail at 130 South Wabasha St., Suite 90, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55107.

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