John Nicodemus Russo April 28, 1936 - January 4, 2022
Among his family and friends, John was known as ""The Rock,"" for his strength and reliability, always available to help. In his family, he was the ""go to"" person. He has passed these traits to his daughter and son, Tricia and Scott, who have been a constant for their mother, Karen, since his passing.
John was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and moved with his parents to Los Angeles when five years old. He attended Catholic schools, was an altar boy, and studied in high school to become a Brother, at Christian Brothers, at Mt. La Salle in Napa Valley. Changing his path, he attended and graduated from UCLA where he studied Business Administration and was a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. Having always worked from the time he was twelve, at UCLA he hashed in the sororities and was a driver for the Chancelor's wife. He was in ROTC, and commissioned in the Army as a Second Lt., stationed at Fort Benning and Fort Ord. Once he was discharged, he went to work in the burgeoning new computer industry, for IBM, in computer sales.
Just days before graduating from UCLA. he met Karen King, a junior, and waited for her to graduate, so they could marry in September. After a year and a half living in Santa Monica, they made their home for the next twenty-five years in Palos Verdes, where their love was tennis, playing at the Jack Kramer Club. In 1968, he was transferred by IBM to White Plains, New York where they lived in Stanford, Connecticut. Though Californians, through and through, they were glad to experience a change of seasons and the excitement of New York City, but glad to move back to Palos Verdes, two years later, where John joined Computax Corporation as Vice President of Operations.
John had a passion for travel and was lucky that Karen chose to go into the travel business, opening her own agency, Discovery Travel, in Redondo Beach, which enabled them to see much of the world. The most exotic destination was with Society Expeditions to the islands in Micronesia and New Guinea, the first visitors to do so. The most beautiful, most of New Zealand and the glaciers of Patagonia. His favorite city, Paris. But in addition to far off places, John had a special place in his heart, where he felt most alive and comfortable, and returned each year for several years, Durango, Colorado and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. He made sure that many family and friends visited with him there too.
When both Tricia and Scott had gone off to college, he wanted to shorten his commute to life and determined to move to Manhattan Beach, the best decision ever. When he retired early from IBM, he joined the young company, Manhattan Analytics, assisting in their finances. In Manhattan Beach he joined Rotary. He said ""My only regret is that I didn't join earlier, when younger, and could have been of more service.""
Always an optimist, even in his last days, when asked how he was, his response was always, ""wonderful, wonderful."" Karen says, ""Wherever I was, just coming home at end of day, or from an excursion, or whatever I needed, he was always there waiting for me. How I will miss that."" John leaves behind his wife Karen, son Scott, daughter Tricia, and grandchildren Dana Dunlap, Blake Tellefsen, Dexter, Cameron and Riley Russo.
Services will be at American Martyrs, Monday, January 17, at 2p. Reception to follow at O'Donnel Hall.
John and Karen were introduced to me by Charlotte Lesser. What a gift. John and I became good friends. I was able to sponsor John to join Manhattan Beach Rotary. He was a client as well. It was a special arrangement to be his investment advisor.
Karen, I wish you much comfort and strength. We must do coffee again soon. You are so appreciated. Prayers for you, Tricia and Scott.