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Clarissa J. Russey was born in DeQueen, Arkansas on December 24th, 1964 to Maxine White and Nathan Russey of Gurdon, Arkansas. Clarissa was the baby girl of her two sisters, Angela and Renea. The Russey family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where they lived for several years before moving back to Arkansas and making it their permanent home.
Throughout Clarissa’s life, she picked up on how to play softball. She and her sisters were on a team called The Gurdon Wildcats coached by their father Nathan and mother Maxine. They were state champions 2 years in a row. Clarissa played the rover position in softball, but she could do it all.
Clarissa attended Gurdon High School where she met Winfred T. Burton and they became inseparable. They dated for years and to their courtship they had their first daughter T’Nesha Burton whom she lovingly called “Mink”. Clarissa graduated from high school and three years later their second daughter, Kanei Russey whom she lovingly called “Punkin” was born. Clarissa was excited to be a mother and loved showing her two girls off to everyone.
Clarissa loved to do her girls' hair so she decided to go to Cosmetology school in Arkadelphia. Throughout the years Clarissa also received a trade in welding. In 2002, Clarissa began working as a laborer at Scroll Technologies, then decided she wanted to move to the big state of Texas. There is where she would explore her talent in singing for local clubs around the town. Clarissa was a people person; loved to have fun, dance, get her hair and toes done, make people laugh, and just be the life of any party. She never met a stranger and would give anyone her last. She loved music, her favorite was gospel and R&B and her favorite artist was Prince. She loved watching “Gunsmoke”, “The Young and the Restless”, and “The Bold & Beautiful”.
Later on, in life, she met a special friend, Ronald Polk and they began a relationship up until his passing. Clarissa decided to move back home to be with her mother, daughters and other family members after developing COPD. Clarissa was able to spend her time being a grandmother while back home. She enjoyed every moment she had to spend with her grandkids; Brayden, Bryce, and Braya. They adored her and she loved being called “grandma”. If she was ever down when she saw them come in the room she lit up. She also loved being around her daughters and there were many things she enjoyed doing with her daughter T’Nesha; they watched The Young and the Restless and talked about how ruthless Victor Newman was and talked about what they were going to eat a day. She loved singing with her daughter, Kanei. Some of the many songs they loved to sing together were ‘Sitting on top of the world’, ‘Open up my Heart’ and ‘What if a Woman’.
Every day Clarissa and her mother Maxine loved to watch westerns together, their favorite was Gunsmoke; they would watch it daily. Clarissa knew every word to each scene. Clarissa was treated by many doctors and nurses during her illness from Texas to Arkansas and she became friends with all the staff. They would always talk about how fun Clarissa was to be around and she was their best patient. Her favorite nurse was Dawana Smith who spoiled her rotten.
Although her illness robbed her of her ability to breathe on her own, she was never short of words, wisdom, or wit. Clarissa was a member of Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, her illness kept her from being present at church, but she loved and knew the Lord for herself. She studied the word, knew the word, spoke the word, and applied the word daily. Clarissa’s aunt Janice would have bible study by her bedside every Tuesday and Sunday where she was a full participant and enjoyed it. She will be remembered for her wit, her entertaining stories, loud laugh, kindheartedness, and her sweet and calm spirit. She made sure she told you she loved you before ending any conversation. She was a fighter and the strength and faith she had until the end of her life are unmatched.
Clarissa departed this life on August 5, 2021 peacefully at home. She was preceded in death by her father, Nathan Russey; sister Doretha Renea Kirby; grandmother’s, Christene Williams, Gennie V. Cunningham; grandfather’s, Roosevelt Russey, James Williams; aunt, Ernestine Davis and uncles, Truman, Levell, and Hershell Williams.
Clarissa is survived by her mother Maxine White of Gurdon, Arkansas; daughters, T’Nesha Burton and Kanei Russey both of Arkadelphia; her sister, Angela Bell of Gurdon, Arkansas; grandchildren. Brayden Bledsoe, Bryce Buckley, Braya Blevins of Arkadelphia, Arkansas; nephew, Brandon Kirby; niece, Ileaa Kirby-Swift (Terrance) both of Texas. She also leaves a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, family members, and friends.
Submitted by the Russey family
Public Visitation will be Thursday, August 12, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home. Services will be held at the Pavilion-Mt. Canaan Baptist Church at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, 2021 with Rev. Johnny Harris, eulogist. Interment will be at Rose Hedge Cemetery. Pallbearers will be David Young, Tony Anderson, Stanley McClelland, Jr., Robert Morgan, Jr., Carl Freddy Anderson and Ricky Ross.
Thursday, August 12, 2021
2:00 - 6:00pm (Central time)
Williams Funeral Home
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)
Mt. Canaan Baptist Church
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