RUSSO John R. Russo M.D. died at his home in Huntington, on October 18, 2011. His devoted wife of 65 years Matilda C. Russo, his son John Marc Russo, Esq., his grandson Andrew J.D. Russo, and his caring aid Lucy Afonso were at his bedside. Born on March 30, 1917, in New York City, he was the fourth of Giovanni and Maria Grazia Russo's five children. His father was a real-estate developer in New York City. John graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School. He attended Johns Hopkins University where he became a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1939 and entered medical school at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons receiving his M.D. in 1943. He interned at Long Island College Hospital and at Bellevue Hospital in New York. His entire class was mobilized for service in World War II
. John served as a Captain in the US Army
Medical Corps. Assigned to the ETO Blood Bank, his company participated in the Normandy invasion and the liberation of Paris. In 1946 he married his wife Matilda in Atlanta, GA and continued his training at Long Island College Hospital (Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York), where he was chief resident in Pediatrics and at Syndenham Hospital in Baltimore. In 1949, he established his home and office in the north end of Bridgeport and practiced pediatrics there until his retirement two months before his 80th birthday. A Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics he was an attending physician at both St. Vincent's Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital. At St. Vincent's he was chief of Pediatrics for more than a decade and served as President of the Hospital Staff. John was active in the Fairfield County Medical Association and in the medical education of future physicians, helping establish the Yale University
Pediatric Residency Program at Bridgeport Hospital. John cared for his patients and their families at his home and office on Main Street for his entire career. During the latter years of practice, his wife Matilda, a nurse, worked by his side. John brought his gentle and caring love of his family with him when he stepped from his home into his office. The same devotion as father, grandfather, and uncle was showered on the many wonderful residents of Bridgeport and surrounding towns who chose him as their physician. With the same joy and spirit for his work and devotion to his patients, John loved the company of his many nieces and nephews, as well as their spouses and friends, as he did for his children and grandson. While growing up John and his family spent many happy days at their summer home in Rockaway Beach. At Rockaway John first learned to swim, to surf, and to love everything about the sea. This translated into many happy moments for his children, grandson, nieces and nephews as John shared his enthusiasm for sailing, skiing, and intellectual pursuits, teaching them about being positive and considerate to others, often repeating his favorite quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Nothing is achieved without optimism." A member of the Black Rock Yacht Club for more than 50 years, and former Fleet Surgeon at the Fayerweather Yacht Club, John loved to sail on Long Island Sound. Predeceased by his sister Rose and her husband C. Paul Russo M.D. and his sister Adelaide and her husband Alexius Rachun M.D., he is survived, in addition to his beloved wife, Matilda, by his daughter Adelaide M. Russo of Baton Rouge, LA, his son John Marc Russo of Avon, and his grandson Andrew J.D. Russo of Avon, his beloved younger brother Francis R. Russo M.D. and sister-in-law Nancy of Janesville, WI and Pinehurst, NC, sister-in-law Cecelia DeAlto of Boston, MA, sister-in-law, Catherine Ammirati of Long Island, NY and many nieces, nephews, their spouses, and children. Friends and family may call on Monday, October 24, 2011 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Redgate - Hennessy Funeral Home, Main Street and Gorham Place, Trumbull. On Tuesday October 25, 2011, at 10 a.m., Father Michael K. Jones and Father Michael F. Dogali will co-celebrate John's life at Saint Lawrence Church, 505 Shelton Avenue, Huntington. Interment at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield will be private. The Russo Family would like to express their deep gratitude to the Afonso Family and to Deborah Sims, R.N. of the Hospice Service of the Connecticut Visiting Nurse Association for the excellent care they gave John during his illness. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Dr. Russo's memory to the Department of Pediatrics at St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, 2800 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06606, to the Pediatrics Residency Program at Bridgeport Hospital, P.O. Box 5000, Bridgeport, CT 06610, or to the Russo Family Scholarship at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, 33 West 60th Street, New York, NY, 10023. To send online condolences please visit www.redgatehennessy.