MARY DORIA RUSSELL was born in suburban Chicago in 1950. Her mother was a Navy nurse and her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant. She and her younger brother Richard consequently developed a dismaying vocabulary at an early age. She learned discretion at Sacred Heart Catholic elementary school; how to diagram sentences at Glenbard East High; cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois; social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston; and biological anthropology at the University of Michigan.
Mary and Don Russell have been happily married for an unusually high percentage of the years since 1970. Don is a software engineer and one of the founders of AllTech Medical Systems, which designs and manufactures medical imaging equipment for the Chinese domestic market.
Their son Daniel was born in Zagreb in 1985. Dan is a 2008 graduate of Columbia College of Chicago’s superb film production program with concentrations in cinematography, editing and screenwriting. He interned at Loyola Productions, a Jesuit film company at Loyola Marymount University in L.A.; at Lion’s Gate Productions, doing script coverage; and at Stun Creative in L.A, doing high-end commercials. He has been a segment producer for news programs at WGTE PBS-TV in Toledo, Ohio, and is now a freelance digital editor with experience in television, documentaries, commercials and film.
The Russells were thrilled by the 2008 wedding of their son Dan to artist Jessica Condon, whom the Russells call “our honey-in-law.” In 2007, Jessie was a counselor with Camp Adventure in Hong Kong. The younger Russells spent their honeymoon as volunteers at the Rising Star Outreach boarding school for children of leprosy-affected parents, near Chennai, India.
Don and Mary live near Cleveland, Ohio. Their huge golden retriever Leo Lebowski has passed away, but their tubby, opinionated dachshund (Annie Fannie Sweet Feet) continues to dominate their lives. Annie is the model for the fictional Rosie, in Dreamers of the Day, which Mary claims “includes the finest portrait of a 16-pound black and tan long-haired dachshund in modern American literature.”