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Barbara Alice Spees Russell

Class Motto 1941:
"With the ropes of the past, We will ring the bells of the future"

In 1971, former long-time school board member Lester Bradley made a phone call to Barbara Russell offering her a job that would change her life. She accepted and had only 2 days to prepare for a job that lasted almost 25 years.

Any child in the Zionsville Community School System during the years 1971 to 1995 knew of Barbara Alice Spees Russell. Barbara served the community school children as the school nurse. She spent long days taking temperatures, dispensing medications, applying bandages, calling parents and giving loving care to those who were just having a bad day. Many children with special health needs would not have been able to attend school without the treatments Mrs. Russell administered. She set up free health screenings including vision, dental and hearing exams. She helped with sports physicals and all the while running back and forth between Eagle Elementary, Union Elementary, Junior High and High School.

Barbara Alice Spees is the daughter of Byron and Amelia Spees. The sister of Robert Spees and Dr. Donald Spees, she graduated from Zionsville in 1941. She went on to attend Indianapolis City Hospital School of Nursing; now known as Wishard Hospital.


She then married Earl Russell, also an alumni of ZHS and had 3 children, Jane, Jim, and David. They all are ZHS alumni. She has several grandchildren who are alumni and is now the proud Great-Grandmother of 6.

Barbara and Earl welcomed exchange student Gherhard Schulthesis from Friedrichschafer, Germany into their home and family in 1965-66. He attended Zionsville High School with their son Jim and has been a vital part of their family.

After retiring from Zionsville Schools, Barb has continued to serve her community. She has been chairman of the Zionsville local blood drive for many years. She not only sets up the location of the draw but she enlists the local blood donors reminding them by a phone call.

She is a long-time member of Zionsville Christian Church and has done years of volunteer work at a thrift shop at the Central Christian Church in Indianapolis helping sort donations and pricing, etc. She is a member of the Dorcus Circle and many Bible study groups.

Barbara is a life-time member of Delta Sigma Kappa Sorority and was named Woman-of the-Year. This group was a great help working as volunteers when Barb started the school vision screening along with the local doctors. She has also done volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity. She is an active community helper and a good neighbor and friend to those new to the community. She and her family are great representatives of Zionsville Alumni. By Susie Bullington "Class of 1960"