GREENFIELD - Russell C. Bontempi, 75, of Greenfield, died Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, surrounded by his family, following a lengthy illness.
He was born Nov. 1, 1937, in Northampton, the son of Ruth E. (Staples) and Charles Bontempi.
He moved with his family to Greenfield as a young child and attended Greenfield schools. While in high school, he met his future wife Shirley Ann Bush. He graduated from Greenfield High School in 1956 and from St. Anselm College in 1959.
Following his graduation, he began working at United Aircraft in Hartford, Conn., and in the winter of 1960 he and Shirley were married.
Russ enrolled in Dental School at Georgetown University in the fall of 1960 and he and Shirley lived for four years just over the Key bridge in northern Virginia.
Upon graduation from Georgetown in 1964, he returned to Greenfield and opened his own dental practice. He practiced general dentistry in Greenfield for 38 years before retiring in 1992.
Russ was an avid outdoors man with a love of hunting and fishing and established himself as a fixture at his children's high school and college sporting events. He was a lifelong member of the Greenfield Lodge of Elks and past exalted ruler.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years Shirley (Bush) Bontempi; his father Charles P. Bontempi, 101, also of Greenfield; his four children, Russell, Jr., of Coinjock, N.C., Karen Laclair and her husband Ron of Hadley, Lisa Conroy of Pittsfield and William Bontempi and his wife Krisinda of Wilbraham; his eight grandchildren, Hillary Bontempi, Allison and Brian LaClair, Shannon and Molly Conroy and Marissa, Angelina and Dante Bontempi; several cousins Judy (Begin) Chaput and her husband Peter of Hawaii, Shelly (Begin) Griffin and her husband Paul of Singapore and Leeds, Dr. Gregory Begin and his wife Becky of Norfolk, Angela (Bontempi) Pedersen and her husband David of Colorado, Pamela (Bontempi) Harlow and her husband Scott of Northampton, Heather (Bontempi) Knowles and her husband Jason of Kansas; nieces Kara Chaput of Hawaii and Liana Griffin of New York City and Bryna Griffin of Congo, Africa; and nephews Alan Chaput of New Jersey and Gregory T. Begin of Cambridge.
Russ will always be remembered as a caring dentist, a voracious outdoors man, a loving husband and devoted father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by his family and friends but his memory will live on in their hearts forever.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the Poet's Seat Health Care staff for their wonderful care of Russ.
Funeral services will be held today, May 17, at 12:15 p.m. from the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal St., Greenfield, followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace Church, 90 Seventh St., Turners Falls, with the Rev. Stanley J. Aksamit officiating. Burial will follow in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in Greenfield.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Poet's Seat Activities Fund, c/o Zanaida Diaz, 359 High St., Greenfield, MA 01301 or to Our Lady of Peace Church, 90 Seventh St., Turners Falls, MA 01376.
Sympathy message available at www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.