Joan Russell Obituary
Joan Russell Obituary: The recent passing of Joan Elaine Russell at age 64 has deeply saddened the Sioux Falls community. Russell leaves behind an incredible legacy as a pioneering journalist and news anchor in South Dakota. A lifelong learner, Russell inspired many with her passion, kindness and commitment to the truth.
Joan Russell Obituary: A Celebrated Career in Broadcast Journalism
Russell, who died on September 6, 2023 after a four-year battle with cancer, was born in Tyndall, SD in 1959. She graduated from Scotland High School in 1977 and Yankton College.
Russell began her prolific career in Sioux Falls, starting as a reporter at KSFY TV. She eventually became co-anchor of the evening Eyewitness News broadcasts. Russell later worked at KELO, KDLT and SDPB during her accomplished journalism career.
A Trailblazer for Women in News
As one of the first female anchors in Sioux Falls, Russell paved the way for many women journalists across South Dakota. She was known as an incredibly hard-working, honest and strong news anchor during her years at each network.
Russell balanced her successful career with raising three children, first as a single mother. Her passion for uncovering the truth never wavered, even as she expertly juggled family and work.
Passionate About Her Community
Though Russell achieved great success, she remained loyal to her rural South Dakota roots. She had a natural confidence and affinity for music. Russell was constantly reading, investigating and editing—sharpening her reporting skills throughout her life.
She inspired many with her wit, articulation and kindness both on-air and off. Russell will be dearly missed by the entire Sioux Falls community.
A Celebration of Her Life
A memorial service will take place on September 12, 2023 at First Congregational Church in Sioux Falls. A visitation will occur the day before at Heritage Funeral Home from 4-6 PM.
Russell’s three children and seven grandchildren will honor her life and legacy at the celebration. She is survived by her siblings John Russell, Susan Sedlacek and Kay MacClure.
Her Enduring Legacy
Russell leaves behind a legacy of integrity, passion and commitment to the truth. She paved the way for women journalists across her home state. Though Russell has passed, her influence will continue inspiring future generations.
The Sioux Falls community will never forget Russell’s trailblazing career and impact on local broadcasting. Her dedication to uncovering the facts, articulate reporting and kindness left a permanent mark.
A Lifelong Love of Learning
Russell constantly strove to improve as a journalist, even outside of work. She was always reading, investigating and editing—even correcting her children’s grammar in text messages!
This lifelong love of learning and language made Russell an exceptional reporter and anchor. She brought intellect, wit and sharp language skills to every news story and interview.
The loss of the pioneering journalist Joan Russell leaves a void in South Dakota broadcasting. Yet her legacy burns bright in the hearts of everyone she inspired throughout her prolific career. Russell paved the way for women in media and exemplified professionalism, integrity and kindness. Her passion for the truth and lifelong love of learning will never be forgotten.