Vigen Memorial Home obituary – Maria Liliana “Lily” Russell, 69, Keokuk


Maria Liliana “Lily” Russell, 69, of Keokuk, IA, died Tuesday May 23, 2023 at the Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center in West Burlington, Iowa.

She was born on November 14, 1953 in Vancouver, WA, the daughter of Jaime and Maria Luisa (Lopez) Polit.  She graduated from Fort Madison Aquinas High School with the Class of 1971.  Lily received her Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and chemistry from Rockhurst University in Kansas City. 

On April 23, 1977, Lily married John Russell at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fort Madison.  He survives.

She is also survived by two sons, Justin (Traci) Russell of Joliet, IL and Nicholas (Kelly) Russell of Haslet, TX, two grandchildren, Benjamin and Nathaniel Russell, her mother, Maria Polit of Riverview, FL, two sisters, Paulina Wacksman of Orlando, FL and Sonia Gamache of Riverview, FL, one brother, Jamie Polit Jr. of Switzerland, and many nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her father.

Lily worked at the Keokuk Area Hospital as a medical Lab Technician for over 25 years retiring in 2016.

Lily was a member of All Saints Catholic Church in Keokuk.  She was an active officer for the Burlington Kennel Club. 

Lily was a registered judge with the American Kennel Club and judged multiple breds.  She was a member of the Collie Club of America.  She also owned and bred Collies.  Lily enjoyed showing her dogs and won the 2009 best of breed in the Westminster Dog Show.  She loved gardening flowers and vegetables, quilting and sewing, but most of all Lily loved spending time with her family.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 17, 2023, at the Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk, Iowa. 

Visitation will be held one hour prior from 10-11 a.m. with the family meeting with friends at that time.  Food and fellowship with the family will be held at the Elks Lodge following the service.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.   

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

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