Louis "Lou" RUSSO Sr.

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RUSSO, Louis Sr. "Lou," finished 84 wonderful years as son, brother, husband, father, grand-father, great grand-father, uncle and friend on October 7, 2012. Lou is survived by his high school sweetheart and loving wife of 63 years, Alice (Esperante); sister, Sylvia Butler; daughter, Nancy Mooy (Pete); son, Lou, Jr. (Jacqueline); grand-daughter, Robin Stewart (Don); grandsons, Chris and Nicholas; and great-grandson, Owen Stewart. Lou was a Tampa native and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1945. He enlisted in the US Army in 1946 and served as a Military Police specialist providing special requirements at Sugamo Prison in Japan where America detained war criminals until his discharge in 1948. Lou returned to the US to enter Florida State University and graduated with a degree in Accounting in 1952. Lou came back to Tampa to begin his financial management career working with several local companies in building an outstanding reputation in improving corporate financial practices for growth and expansion. In 1964, Lou joined the Directorate of Finance for the Hillsborough County School District, and later, was appointed Director under Dr. Raymond Shelton. Lou was quickly recognized as a superb county finance manager and negotiator. He planned, negotiated and executed budgets to build more than a dozen schools and executed one of Hillsborough's largest payrolls. He was recognized for exceptional leadership by school officials and political leaders, state wide. Lou's performance earned selection by Mayor Bob Martinez to provide financial leadership to the rapidly growing city of Tampa in 1979. Lou made quick impact by financing numerous huge projects that now serve as some of the finest community facilities anywhere. Lou stayed on as Director of Finance at the requests of Mayors Sandy Freedman and Dick Greco. Projects Lou made possible include the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Tampa Convention Center, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, a renovated City Hall, a downtown police station, and purchase of the Florida Aquarium. Lou won numerous awards including the prestigious"Effective Government Award" from the Tampa Chamber of Commerce in 1989. His actions were essential to Tampa receiving the "All-America City Award" in 1990. And, Lou was just voted into the Thomas Jefferson High School Hall of Fame. Lou will be honored at a memorial gathering and mass taking place at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 13, at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, 5223 N. Himes Ave. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or to St Jude's Children's Hospital. Links to these organizations: http://www.stjude.org/, https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Published in TBO.com from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, 2012
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