Cover photo for Betty Jane Russell's Obituary
Betty Jane Russell Profile Photo
1932 Betty 2021

Betty Jane Russell

April 27, 1932 — December 12, 2021

Betty Jane Gardner was born on April 27, 1932 in Teton, Idaho in a log cabin that her dad had built himself. She was named after the movie star Betty Grable, whom her dad always liked. Her middle name Jane, was from her mother’s Aunt Jane Crapo, because her parents liked her so well!

It must have been an early spring the day she was born because that morning her dad said he could see all the way down the onion and carrot rows in the garden. She was the second child born to Floyd Brigham & Thelma Rawson Gardner. They were farmers and back then they were hoping for a son to work on the farm. Betty ended up working hard on the farm at a young age. Her mother would get the kids up about 5:30 am in the summer months to pull weeds for the pigs to eat. They couldn’t have breakfast themselves until they had fed the pigs.

Betty worked alongside her dad in the fields for most of her growing years along with her other brothers and sisters.
She attended school in Sugar Salem for nine years and went to South Fremont for her last three years. She got pink eye three days before graduation, so she spent her time in the cellar cutting potatoes instead of attending her graduation ceremony.

When she was 16, she had her first job away from home in West Yellowstone. It was the summer between her Sophomore and Junior year. She cleaned cabins and did laundry. In the evening she bused tables in the Silver Spur Café. That was the same summer her little sister Esther drowned in the ditch near her home in Teton. She went home for the funeral and she didn’t want to go back to West Yellowstone to work. Her dad said “You don’t start a job and not finish it.” So she went back to work, heart broken about her little sister and very homesick. It was really hard for her but she finished out the summer working there. She also worked the same place the following summer. She worked after school and Saturdays at the Del Rue Inn in Sugar City for Adams. She was a fry cook and waitress until the fall after she graduated from high school. At that time, she moved to Idaho Falls and worked at the LDS hospital for a short time and then for Mel Johnson’s Drug until she decided to go to beauty school. She started Beauty School at the House of Beauty which went out of business in January of 1952. She finished at Ex Celsis Beauty College and graduated in June of 1952. She worked as a hairdresser in several shops in Idaho Falls.

It was at this time that her friend Ruby Daniels introduced her to Bruce Russell when he was on leave from the navy. They fell in love and were married on November 26, 1952 in her parent’s home in Teton. They had six children. Eric, Connie, Neal, Richard, Natalie and John. They lived in Shelley on Center Street until 1963 and then moved out to the country where they had 10 acres and room for their kids to grow up. Bruce and Betty were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on May 24, 1965.

Betty worked hard all her life and she accomplished many things with her creativity, innovation and determination. She loved being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother! She loved children and she loved creating a beautiful home, yard and garden. She sewed clothes for her family, grew vegetables and fruit to feed them, painted and wallpapered their home, planted flowers and trees to beautify their surroundings. She crocheted, embroidered, made many quilts, made beautiful ceramics, loved to cook and bake, make crafts, and really there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do! She had learned as a child to work hard and that has always been part of her.

She was a great mother to her children. She loved and cared for each one of us. She did her best to help us learn to work, love one another and gain testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We often found her studying the scriptures and reading the Ensign cover to cover. She encouraged us to work hard in school and in all other areas of our life. She was a great example to all of us!

She served in many callings in the church including primary teacher, den mother, visiting teacher, Sunday school teacher, primary president, counselor in the Young Women’s, counselor, secretary, work director and president in Relief Society, officiator in the temple and as a worker in the temple kitchen. She attended the temple weekly and she was passionate about doing temple work. She loved the programs of the church and took her children to church every Sunday so their lives would be blessed. She loved our Heavenly Father and Savior and had a strong testimony of Them. She served others and truly was a generous person.

Betty’s husband Bruce passed away in 2011 of stomach cancer. She spent many hours helping and taking care of him as he declined in health. She has continued to work so hard and create a beautiful home and yard. She loves her family and is so proud of each of them.

She is survived by her children: Eric (and Doris) Russell, of Firth, Connie (and Steve) Sheahan of Hamilton MT, Neal (and Claudia) Russell of Idaho Falls, Richard (and Sheri) Russell of Goshen, Natalie (and Steve) Wells of Shelley and John (and Chris) Russell of Shelley. Also, her siblings: Shirley, Dave, Robert, Eddy, Sibyl, Brig, Sabra and Debra.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her siblings Esther, Jim, and Elnora and a grandson, Jason Russell. She had great love for her brothers and sisters and their families. Betty has 21 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at Nalder Funeral Home, 110 W Oak Street in Shelley. The funeral will be broadcast live on the Nalder Funeral Home Facebook Page. The family will receive friends Wednesday morning from 10:00 till 10:40 A.M at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to Aspen Home Health and Hospice at 3480 Washington Parkway, Idaho Falls, Idaho83404.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

10:00 - 10:40 am (Mountain time)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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