He was born on August 25, 1924 in New York City. The son of the late Annunziata (Manfre) and Frank Russo of High View, NY and beloved husband of the late Emily Leone Russo, and father of Jane Russo, DMD, Walter Russo, DMD, both of Milford, CT, Peter Russo, DMD, Guilford, CT and Martha Russo, MFA, Ward, CO; loving father-in-law to Erica Russo, Walt’s wife, and Professor Joseph Ryan, PhD, Martha’s husband; loving grandfather to Odelia and Henry Ryan, Claire, Amelia, and Holly Russo, Peter and Laura Kurjanowicz.
He was pre-deceased by his grandson Kyle Kurjanowicz and his sister Sarah Cromwell.
Dr. Russo served in World War II, landing at Omaha Beach with the 294th Combat Engineer attached to the 82nd Airborne. He was honored with a Bronze Star for bravery.
After returning from the war, he attended Bucknell University and then the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, graduating in 1952. In 1953, he interned at the Philadelphia Hospital where he met Emily Leone, to whom he was married for 60 years.
He opened his dental practice in Milford in 1954, and practiced for 40 years. Always a man of generosity, he threw a party on the office grounds for all of his patients to honor his 35th year in practice. He retired in 1993; his dental legacy continues today under Dr. Walter Russo. He was a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and former President of the Milford Dental Society.
Active in the community he loved, he was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Milford, serving as President in 1960, and after 58 years of service, was recently honored with the Walter Zeller Fellowship Award. He was also past President of the American Friends, a member of both the American Red Cross and the United Way Fund, and co-founder of the Milford Youth Center.
He received the Devon Post Veterans’ of Foreign War Award for “Outstanding Service to Youth,” and the Milford Junior Chamber of Commerce honored him with the “Distinguished Service Award.” In 2001, he received both the “Italian American of the Year Award” from the Milford Columbus Committee, and the “International Hixson Award” from the Kiwanis Club of Milford.
Dr. Russo was the general chairman of the election committee for Charles R. Iovino who became Mayor of Milford on a write-in vote in 1959.
He was a member of the First United Church of Christ for 60 years and served on the music committee for the Plymouth Men’s Club. An avid fisherman and boat enthusiast, Dr. Russo caught big game fish from here to Mexico and traveled extensively around the world with his family.
Calling hours are on Saturday, November 15, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home, 135 N. Broad St. Milford.
The memorial service is on Sunday, November 16 at 1:00 pm, First United Church of Christ, 34 West Main Street, Milford. Additional parking is available at Wasson Field at 91 West Main Street, Milford.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kiwanis Club of Milford, P.O. Box 367, Milford, CT 06460; and the First United Church of Christ, Attn:Emily and Anthony Russo Memorial Music Fund, 34 W. Main St., Milford, CT 06460.