Grew up on a farm in West Central Illinois. Got married in 1976 and had 4 children. Mother to adult children, Brandy (Bob) Snyder; Ben Beeler (deceased in 2018); Brittany (Jon) Huizinga; and Breanne (Justin) Hartman.
Mamaw to 15 grandchildren, Andrew, Braelynn, Brian, Makena, Madison, Bryce, Zander, Maecyn, Easton, Jaxon, Aly, Allanah, Finley, Huxton, and Lennon.
Learned how to take off and land a Cessna 182 airplane when she was 16 years old. Coached cheerleading for 10 years. Coached YMCA girls basketball, and softball. Sports Booster President, yearbook sponsor, and did lots of volunteering at school.
Owned a ceramics business for 10 years. Owned a bookkeeping and tax service for 10 years.
Moved to Michigan in 1999. Married to Mark Russell since 2004. Worked as an office manager and financial analyst for 14 years. Has been an affiliate with SendOutCards since 2008. Founded the Women’s Motorsports Network, in 2017, parent company for the International Women’s Motorsports Association, Racing Girls Rock Podcast, Women’s Motorsports Network News digital magazine and Let’s Talk Racing LIVE show that airs on Facebook.
Melinda and Mark built a new home in Kalamazoo, MI in 2022 and will travel to warmer parts of the country in the winter.