Kendal at Home member Marion Gatts Russell spent her life enjoying music. As a student at James Ford Rhodes High School, she earned two scholarships — one in voice and one in flute — to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
After graduating from the conservatory, Marion spent 36 years teaching vocal and instrumental music for the Lorain County school districts.
When she wasn’t teaching, Marion served as the principal flutist for the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, a position she held for 57 years. She also served president of the orchestra and was a member of the board of directors, helping to establish the Performing Artists Endowment Fund.
Marion was also active in the Kendal at Home community until her death in August 2019. To honor her contributions to music in Cleveland, Marion will receive a memorial concert at Severance Hall once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“Marion was a woman of deep dedication to the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra and its board. Her musical cultivation began at a very early age in Cleveland. After winning the National Flute Association’s Scholarship in 1939, Marion graduated in 1944 with a Performance degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Flute, Piano and Voice. Her life was defined by sharing, promoting, educating, influencing good music, and overcoming obstacles for women across Ohio and our nation through her many performances. Her life reflected her belief that all people have a need for artistic nourishment. The thousands of people who Marion’s long life has touched have been enriched by her energy, talent and dedication to music,” her children wrote in the Severence Hall memorial program.