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333 Falling Spring Road
Chambersburg, PA 17201
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Salvatore J. Russo

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Salvatore J. Russo Obituary
Salvatore J. Russo Salvatore "Sal" J. Russo , 85, a resident at The Village of Laurel Run and formerly of South Seventh Street in Chambersburg, passed away Thursday evening, May 15, 2014 at the Chambersburg Hospital. Born April 7, 1929 in Butler, PA to Joseph and Philomena Russo, Sal was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy J. Wolff Russo (Married for 52 years). He is survived by a brother, John Russo ( wife Joan) of Butler, a brother-in-law Jack Wolff (wife Rhonda) of Fayetteville, PA; children, Angela Austin, Michael Russo,(wife Marie), and Sally Umbrell (husband Barry), all of Chambersburg. There are five grandchildren, Jessica Hartley (husband Casey) of Erie, PA, Andrew Austin of Linkoping, Sweden, Stephanie Austin of Pittsburgh, Jacob Russo and Tyler Umbrell both from Chambersburg. Sal was an Uncle to five nephews, five great-nieces, and 4 great-nephews. Sal Russo started dancing at age five and danced with a group of girls called "Sal and the Gals" along with various organizations to raise money. He also danced during WWII for the U.S. Troops at U.S.O. Clubs and various hospitals in Western, PA. As a young boy Sal belonged to various clubs, was a member of the YMCA, and Boy Scouts of America, where he earned his Eagle Scout in 1948. Sal was also an all- around and honored athlete at Butler High School where he graduated in 1948. He earned letters in football, basketball, and track in high school, and his competitive prowess brought home a number of awards. His senior year he was voted the Outstanding Male Student in Sports by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he was named Butler High's Most Versatile Athlete. Upon graduation from high school, Sal entered Clarion University where he limited his playing to football and basketball. His nick name was "Twinkle Toes" even on the basketball court. At the time Clarion was a power in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, and he was a part of the Golden Eagles golden era. A backcourt operative, he helped his school win back-to-back state conference titles in 1951 and 1952. The 1952 team went undefeated during the regular season, and played its way into the National Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament in Kansas City. Sal entered the Armed Forces after graduating from Clarion University serving 18 months in Korea serving in Graves Registration. Upon discharge, Sal began his teaching / coaching career at the Scotland School for Veterans' children. From 1954- 1959 he coached football, basketball, and baseball at Scotland. His Cadets won the Franklin County Baseball Championships in 1955. In 1957 Sal married Nancy Jane Wolff of Chambersburg. In 1959 Coach Russo arrived at Chambersburg High School. He coached basketball, first as an assistant then as head coach from 1964 to 1970. Sal was also a history teacher from 1959-1983 also being a Class Advisor to three different classes. As coach, he took the Trojans to the District III Playoff several times. For these efforts Sal was name Franklin County Coach of The Year. The very next year Sal was invited to lend his expertise at the Dapper Dan Round Ball Classic in Pittsburgh. In 1970 Sal stepped down from coaching but that didn't last long. Sal became the director of the Chambersburg High School Band Front from 1972-1982. During that decade the Trojan Band was in high demand making appearances all over the country, including performances at the Orange, Cotton, Sugar, and Rose Bowls. However it was tough to contain Sal's love of his athletic coaching and he continued to volunteer his help in community sports, by helping to develop the program and coach midget football, and coaching the Corpus Christi Elementary basketball teams where he was recognized in 2003 for the Athletic Association Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991 Sal was in inducted into the Butler Area Sports Hall of Fame and in 1996 the Central Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. But coaching and sports was not Sal's only love. He so enjoyed his dancing and the arts. Sal was involved with the Community Theater for over 34 years choreographing and acting in numerous plays and musicals. Sal would also help the Glee Club and the Drama Club choreograph various musical numbers. In 2008 Sal was honored with the Eldon L. Nuernburger Lifetime Service Award from the Chambersburg YMCA for his years of leadership with community organizations in Franklin County. Sal is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 1426, Charles Nitterhouse Post 1599 VFW, BPO Elks Lodge #600, and the Catholic War Veterans of the U.S. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Paul Theisz at 10:00 AM Monday, May 19, 2014 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 320 Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg, PA. The family will receive friends from 4:00 8:00 PM Sunday at Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 333 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg, PA. Interment with military honors by members of the Charles Nitterhouse Post 1599 VFW Honor Guard will follow at Corpus Christi Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Chambersburg Hospital Palliative Care, c/o The Development Office, 785 Fifth Avenue, Corpus Christi School, 320 Philadelphia Avenue, or the Chambersburg Community Theatre, PO Box 92, all in Chambersburg, PA 17201. Memories and condolences may be shared on this Book of Memories page at www.geiselfuneralhome.com
Published in Public Opinion on May 17, 2014
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