Michael Russo of Whiting, NJ passed away peacefully on April 10, 2018 at the age of 102. A native of Staten Island, New York, Michael was born October 30, 1915.
As a boy, Michael assisted his father after school in the family blacksmith shop on Tompkins Avenue in Rosebank where he was raised. During class, Michael could hear the clank of the hammer striking the anvil nearby. He traveled to Mount Rainier in Washington as a teenager with the Civilian Conservation Corps (The Three Cs), to help in forests and plains conservation work.
Upon his return to New York, Michael worked under the WPA on the construction of Ramona Boulevard later renamed Drumgoole Boulevard on Staten Island. He then worked for Bond Bread Company. In 1939, Michael married Thelma Nuara of South Beach, Staten Island. They attended the World’s Fair together that year in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
During WWII, he served as Corporal in the United States Army in the Philippines. After the war, Michael worked as a stevedore on the docks in Stapleton, Staten Island. Then, for NYC Transit Authority, he worked as a Change Booth Clerk on the elevated subway line in Manhattan before becoming a bus driver on Staten Island. The day before the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened to the public, Michael was the bus driver for the first training run across the bridge. After he retired from the MTA, Mike and Thelma moved to Whiting, NJ in 1971, where he drove a bus for Crestwood Village for many years.
Mike and Thelma were deeply committed to their new community. Their dedication and fundraising assisted in the building of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. They enjoyed over fifty-five years of adventures together, including cruising, square dancing, bowling and time with family. After Michael retired at the age of 90, he took up bike riding and remained active until the age of 98.
Michael’s beloved wife Thelma predeceased him in 1995. Surviving Michael are his devoted children, Rosine and Charles (partner, Bridget); his cherished grandchildren, Scott (wife, Maureen) and Jennifer; and treasured great grandchildren, Samantha and Victoria - AKA “Pop Pop Mike’s Dolls”. Michael’s youngest sister Alice Russel (née Russo) of Michigan survives him. His six other siblings (Anna, Fannie, George, Grace, Edith, and Tony) predeceased him. Michael was also very close to his many, much-loved cousins, nieces, nephews and Godchildren.
A Funeral Liturgy will be offered at 10:45 a.m. at the All Saints Chapel of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Whiting, NJ. Interment will follow at St Mary's Cemetery, Grasmere, Staten Island, NY.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey – Hospice Division, 1433 Hooper Avenue, Suite 230, Toms River NJ 08753.