Mildred Russell dies after battle with cancer 

Former School Board of Alachua County member and Republican Party committeewoman Mildred Russell died Friday after a battle with cancer.
Former School Board of Alachua County member and Republican Party committeewoman Mildred Russell died Friday after a battle with cancer.
Courtesy of Mildred Russell

Former school board member and Republican state committeewoman Mildred Russell, 75, died on Friday morning after a battle with cancer. 

Russell was married to Rusty Russell, and the couple had two children, Becka and Jason. In November, Russell went to the emergency room, and doctors discovered a large tumor on her liver. She fought the cancer for six months, and Rusty said the health journey included four miracles that allowed her to stay with family for longer.  

“I have peace to bid Mildred a good night my sweet darling, and it would be nice to have my spiritual and physical eyes open to see this Divine exchange,” Rusty Russell said on Facebook. 

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An Alachua County resident for nearly 40 years, Russell was an ordained minister and worked for Maranatha Christian Schools International before starting Miracle Life Ministries with her husband. She attended Greenhouse Church and led a Bible study each week. 

Russell also held several positions within the Alachua County and Florida Republican Party throughout the administrations of Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott and Jeb Bush. Rusty said she had the ability to build a coalition with anyone to get work done. 

DeSantis appointed her to the school board in 2021. The appointment came after DeSantis removed Diyonne McGraw from the school board for living outside her district. After serving for a little over a year, Russell lost her reelection bid to McGraw

Rusty said Russell prayed about applying for the position and was excited since she felt like she had something to add. Rusty said she wasn’t a puppet board member for anyone. He said many people appreciated her votes not to sue the state but focus on improving the local school system.  

Russell turned the tide of a split school board, giving the often two dissenting votes a majority across many issues. One of the largest issues was that of leadership, and Russell made the motion to fire then-Superintendent Carlee Simon in 2022. 

Rusty said even after losing to McGraw later that year, his wife helped tutor students. He said she loved evangelism and helping others, saying most people Russell ministered to came away with something positive.  

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Mildred will be missed. Such a lovely person. I watched during her tenure on the school board as she worked tirelessly to support the students and teachers. Prayers for her husband, Rusty, and family and friends.


I didn’t always agree with here but she was an honest woman and devoted a lot of time to the issues. i canb respect that. R.I.P. Miss Mildred.