A Trip Unrealized
Wayne Alan Russo never got to Egypt. He had been to China, Japan, Russia, all over Europe ‹ he was planning his eighth trip to Italy for early November ‹ and returned on Sept. 2 from India. But some sort of trouble always blocked the trip to the pyramids.
At home, he led an organized life. He gave blood several times a year, and supported a child in Africa. He took the bus from Union, N.J., where he lived with his parents, every morning at 6:30 to arrive early for his accountant's job at Marsh & McLennan. He went to almost every Giants' home game since Giants Stadium opened in 1976 with his father, Arthur Russo. And there were the Yankees. He and his family saw them beat the Red Sox on Sept. 8.
On Sept. 11 Mr. Russo, 37, was to have had dinner with Cheryl Marx, who had been in the group that went to New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. They never got to exchange photos. But they did receive each other's postcards, sent from India on that last trip. Each said "Egypt next year."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 9, 2001.
Wayne Russo, 37, passion for the pinstripes
One of the last things Arlene Russo remembers doing with her son was applauding the New York Yankees -- as usual.
Wayne Alan Russo took his family to Yankee Stadium in early September to celebrate his parents' birthdays. The Bronx Bombers defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-2, due largely to Tino Martinez's three-run shot in the sixth inning of the exciting game.
The home run spurred the Russo clan to chant "Tino!" over and over, along with thousands of others. Mr. Russo was dressed in full regalia.
"Here, Ma," Arlene Russo of Union, remembers him saying. "Take a picture of me with my Yankee shirt." She snapped the photo. It was the last one she ever took of her son.
Mr. Russo, 37, of Union, perished in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center three days later. An accountant for Marsh & McLennan, Mr. Russo had been in his office on the 98th floor of the South Tower when a hijacked airliner crashed into the building Sept. 11.
He had worked for Marsh & McLennan most of his career, having graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University in 1987.
"Everyone remembered him," said his father, Arthur Russo. "He was a gentleman and a gentle man, my son. He never had a harsh word for anyone. He was a man of honor, loyalty, commitment and integrity."
Mr. Russo's sister, Lynne Linale, also of Union, was heartbroken. She and her brother were very close, and she was planning on making him her baby's godfather. She is expecting her first child in December.
Mr. Russo also loved to travel and had just returned in late August from a trip to India. He'd also journeyed extensively in Europe, Russia, China, Japan and South America in his lifetime.
But his big love -- baseball -- started early.
"He was a heck of a player," Arthur Russo said. "He played Little League ball and eventually, as he was growing up, he got a black belt in karate. All of this very quiet and unassuming," he said.
But he loved his Yankees, especially the Red Sox rivalry, and often attended games at Fenway Park in Boston.
Besides his parents and sister, Mr. Russo is survived by a maternal uncle, Alan Wayne Hockenjos, of Kunkletown, Pa., for whom he was named; his paternal uncle, Anthony Russo of Union, and his brother-in-law, Mario Linale.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church, Morris Avenue, in Union.
Contributions can be made to the Wayne A. Russo Memorial Fund, 407 Prescott Road, Union, N.J. 07083. "All donations will be made to those organizations that were instrumental in helping all the families affected by this tragedy," said Arlene Russo.
Profile by Debra Dowling published in THE STAR-LEDGER.