BRENDA FAYE YOUNG RUSSELL was born to the late Walter Richard Young and Mary Edna Rainey Young on March 13, 1947, in Halifax County, North Carolina. She departed this earthly life to enter her heavenly home on Saturday, March 12, 2016, at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Brenda lost her father at the tender age of three, and she, her brother, and her mother remained in the Summit Community of Littleton, North Carolina, among family and loving friends. To Brenda, there was no greater place to live than where she grew up.
Brenda’s spiritual foundation began at the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Littleton, North Carolina, where she accepted Jesus Christ during her early life. She participated in many church activities and continued her membership until her passing.
Brenda’s formal education was received in the Halifax County Public School System and she graduated from the former McIver High School in Littleton, with the class of 1965. She then attended North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1969. Brenda was a true “Aggie” and was an active participant in the Alumni Association. She attended every Homecoming she could.
Upon completion of her academic studies, Brenda gained employment as an economist with The Rouse Company in Columbia, Maryland. During her five years with the company, she became a merchandising manager in the development of shopping centers and malls nationwide, including properties such as Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, and Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, New Jersey, just to mention a few. Following her tenure with The Rouse Company, she established several retail businesses, most notably, Nikki Young’s, the only high end African American owned boutique in Washington, DC, for more than fifteen years, and also Women’s First Apparel. Additionally, with Daniel Russell, she created The Russell Company which developed the first franchise for Breyer’s Ice Cream Parlors in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and also Russell-Turcott and Company, a real estate development and consulting firm. She also created The Scott-Russell Consulting group where she served as president.
After a lucrative retail and consulting career, Brenda held the position of Acting President of the Washington Urban League. However, her natural entrepreneurial spirit could not be contained, and she soon departed from the Urban League to become a real estate consultant and broker with Coldwell Banker. Throughout her professional career, she was active in various organizations providing community leadership, such as, serving as a board member of the Private Industry Council, being an inaugural member of Leadership Washington and being a member the National Retail Merchants Association, National Association of Professional Women, and the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Brenda was once appointed the Director of Women’s Wear Division at Men’s Wear Retailers of America, the trade association for men’s wear retailers and consulted for Riggs National Bank. Other honors and recognitions during her career include, but are not limited to, The District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce award in 1977, for the new business of the year; the Metropolitan Democratic Women’s Club in 1978; the Mayor Marion Berry Award for “Exemplary Business Achievement in the retail industry in 1983; the appointment as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1986; an honorarium from the Coalition of 100 Black Women of the District of Columbia, Inc.; Retail Firm of the Year by the District of Columbia’s Government of Human Rights Minority Business Opportunity Commission; and the 2001 GCarr Top Producers.
The Washington Post said it best, “Brenda Russell is the walking embodiment of a successful retailer. Her elegant Connecticut Avenue dress shop attracts a wide-range clientele in search of taste, sophistication and style.” The Washington Post, 1979 (Vernon C. Thompton)
Brenda met Daniel Russell while employed at the Rouse Company, and not only did they create successful business ventures together, they were united in Holy Matrimony in 1975, in Washington, DC. God blessed this union with a daughter, Doni Kristen.
In addition to her parents and step-father, William Alston, Brenda was preceded in death by her only sibling, her beloved brother, Walter Garnett Young; her sister-in-law, Mollie “Jackie” Davis Young; her cousin, Selma Rainey Marshall; and her childhood friend, Oneva Faulcon Alston,
Those remaining to be inspired by her legacy and to treasure precious memories of her life and love are her daughter, Doni Kristen of Silver Spring, MD; her niece, Nikki Young of Portsmouth, VA; her nephew, Walter “Walt” Young, Jr. of Newhall, CA; her great-nephew, Andre Young of Portsmouth, VA; her great-niece, Jaida Young of Newhall, CA; two aunts, Margaret Rainey Allen (Lawrence) of Fort Washington, MD, and Catherine Rainey-Brown (Izear) of Littleton, NC; her significant other, Rodney Scott of Folsom, PA; four step-sisters, H. Vernetta Alston of Portland, OR, Dorothy A. Johnson of Enfield, NC, Cherrie A. Sherman of Trenton, NJ, and Shirley A. Hedgepeth (William) of Edison, NJ; two step-brothers, Roger Alston (Delilah) of Finksburg, MD, and Theophilus Alston (Galinda) of Edison, NJ; her former spouse, Daniel Russell of Scottsdale, AR; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, March 19, 2016, at the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Littleton. The Pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles E. McCollum, will deliver the eulogy, and burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM., and the body will repose at the church for one hour prior to the funeral time.