On Saturday, February 20, 2021, Elaine Mae Zickefoose Davidson Russell passed this life to be with the Lord at age 93.
Elaine was born on March 11, 1927 in Queens, WV to Cecil H. Zickefoose and Gladys Gail Garlow Zickefoose. She attended the schools of Upshur County and was a graduate of Buckhannon-upshur High School and West Virginia Business College in Clarksburg. Mrs. Russell also attended West Virginia Wesleyan and Morris Harvey Colleges. She was a certified professional secretary. After graduating from college, Elaine worked for American Airlines as a domestic flight hostess.
Elaine moved to Charleston, WV and began her professional career as an executive secretary. In the spring of 1956, Elaine and A. Paul Davidson announced their engagement and were united in marriage on November 10, 1956. They made their home in Charleston, WV. Elaine began managing the Moore for Governor Campaign headquarters. She was later appointed as Governor Moore’s Executive Secretary and took the oath of office administered upon her appointment along with members of the Governor’s Cabinet. This was a position she held until January 1977. The legacy she left for those who worked under her was the knowledge she instilled in staff members so that they were able to develop a professional career in their own right. During her time in state government, Elaine made many dear lifelong, loyal and trusted friends whom she cherished dearly. After leaving the Governor’s office, she worked at Jackson & Kelly Law Firm, managing personnel for the offices. In 1985, she decided to retire and return to her private life with Paul at their residence in Mill Creek, WV who passed away in the fall of 1986.
Elaine loved her country, her state, and her community and believed in public service as a career as she did so much to assist the citizens of the State of West Virginia throughout her lifetime. After moving back to Mill Creek, Elaine began working for the West Virginia State Tax Department eventually retiring from that position. She worked constantly to better the community in which she lived. This commitment to bettering her community can be found in her foundational and organizational work with the inception of Valley Health Care, Inc., The Tygart Valley Community Library which would later be named The Russell Memorial Public Library, and the Elkwater-spangler Dam Project. Elaine also served as a member of the Committee on Aging through the Randolph County Senior Center. Elaine was elected and served as Mayor for the Town of Mill Creek. It was during this time that she met Brigadier General John P. Russell (USAF) who was working on a book he was writing entitled “Mill Creek Memories.” On September 28, 1996, Elaine married Brig. Gen. John P. Russell in a private family service at the Romney Presbyterian Church. Elaine attended the Mill Creek Presbyterian Church and had a love of Christ that was evidenced throughout the community and to those who knew her. She enjoyed her church family and looked forward to worshiping with them. Elaine’s love of golf was clearly evident as she was an avid golfer. She also loved her local Bridge Club and looked forward to their monthly days of playing Bridge. Those that she golfed with as well as the members of the Bridge Club were very near and dear to her heart. Anyone who knew Elaine soon learned how much she loved family and spending time with family. She will be missed by all of her family members.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, Cecil H. Zickefoose and Gladys Gail Garlow Zickefoose, one brother Theodore Zickefoose, her husband A. Paul Davidson, her husband Brig. Gen. John P. Russell (USAF), and a nephew Steven Zickefoose. She is survived by one brother, Cecil H. Zickefoose and wife Linda of Mill Creek, WV. Her children, Anne Bailey and husband John (Panama City Beach, FL); Susie Gornto and husband Cliff (Miramar Beach, FL); John H. Russell and wife April (Elk Park, NC); grandchildren Alex Bailey, Zach Bailey, Rebecca Davis, and Quint Gornto; nieces Pam Woody and husband Tim (Buckhannon, WV); Beth Day and husband John (Buckhannon, WV); Stephanie Zickefoose (Mill Creek, WV); nephews Randy Zickefoose and wife Donna (Buckhannon, WV); David Zickefoose and companion Wanda Garris (Castle Hayne, NC); Paul G. Zickefoose (Mill Creek, WV), brother in law Charlie Russell (Leesburg, FL), cousins Sandra Klingler (The Villages, FL) and Sue & Maury Hamill (Summerfield, FL).
A funeral service to honor Elaine Mae Zickefoose Davidson Russell will be held Friday, February 26, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. at the Mill Creek Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dr. Basil A. Hensley and Pastor Rich Cardot will officiate. Interment will follow at the Brick Church Cemetery in Huttonsville, WV. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to The Russell Memorial Public Library, P.O. Box 517, Mill Creek, WV 26280.