Katrina + 10

Ione Mercedes Abbley Russell, 90, Pass Christian

Ione Russell had a zest for life and a delicious, irreverent sense of humor," said friend Lorraine Bowes.

Russell was known for her wit. She loved to laugh and could see the comedy in almost any situation.

The relish she took in life was evident in her love of travel, local politics, her church and tennis.

"She was a huge tennis fan. If you called and tennis was on television, she couldn't talk to you," said one family member.

Russell had deep roots in Pass Christian, where her father managed a seafood factory at the harbor, one brother worked in the post office and another brother was elected city clerk and tax collector before Russell herself was appointed to take over for him. She was the first appointed, rather than elected, to those positions in the city's history.

Prior to Aug. 29, Russell also held the honor of being the oldest living former queen of the Pass Christian Mardi Gras. Her daughter, Sheila Francer, later also served as a queen, making them the first mother-daughter queens.

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