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Michael J. Russo

Michael Joseph Russo May 1, 1943 – April 17, 2023 Born in Newark, New Jersey, he was the elder son to Michael Ernest Russo and Antionette Russo (formerly Martino). He spent his childhood in and around the West Orange and Livingston areas. He joined the US Air Force in 1961 and served as an Intelligence Specialist for 3 years, 8 months and 4 days before receiving his Honorable Discharge. Shortly after leaving the Air Force, Michael married Gail Barbara Magill (now Martin) and had two daughters. The small family lived in Livingston before moving to Chester, New Jersey, in 1974, where he quickly distinguished himself in the Local Chapter of Lions Club International. He was heavily involved in the famous Chester Flea Market, which raised millions of dollars for the Chester Lions charitable endeavors. During his tenure and service in the Chester Lions Club, he was at various times appointed President, Vice President, and Treasurer, as well as receiving the prestigious Marvin Jones Award for his contributions to Lions Club International. After retiring from the Lions Club, he became passionately involved with Cooking With The Troops, a non-profit charity started by veterans that organizes barbecues and culinary training for wounded service members. The charity was founded on the premise that preparing honest food can help ease the transition to civilian life. In business, he was clever and successful as Regional Sales Vice President for several companies through out the years. Some of his more prestigious clients included Macy’s, Toys R Us, and Tiffany’s; he provided them with the first bar code tags, printers, and hand-held scanners for optimum inventory standards. Later in life, he established a contract with the US Air Force to maximize the efficiency of their inventory and supply replenishment system. In his personal life, Michael was fond of practical jokes and had a keen sense of humor. He was also a voracious reader, an amateur historian, and an avid fisherman. During any spare time, he could be found on a boat fishing for sea bass or up to his hips in one of his favorite fly fishing spots in New Jersey, the North Branch of the Raritan River in New Jersey being his favorite. Michael Russo was a wonderful man, and he loved his family dearly. Michael moved up to Connecticut to live out his days with his long-time partner, Cla udia “Dee” Connelly, who unfortunately passed away in November 2021. Michael lost his fight with heart and kidney disease on April 17, 2023. He is survived by his eldest daughter Tracy Lynn Byron (formerly Russo), her husband Andrew Thomas Byron, and their children Jessica Lynn Murphy and her husband A.J. Murphy, and Austin Andrew Byron; his youngest daughter Sheri Ann Russo; his brother Edward Raymond Russo and his wife Jennifer Hulse Russo; and Edward’s

son and daughter, Edward Joseph Russo and Deanna Marie Russo. Michael is also survived by his honorary family: Claire Gorgia and her husband Christopher, and t heir two children, Nicholas and Sofia Gorgia of Augustine, FL; Dee Connelly’s childr en, Tracey Monteleone and her husband Phil Monteleone, Tracey’s son Destin Brayt on; Jaime LaChapelle and her husband Robert LaChapelle; and Brandon Bird, all of Bristol, CT. Michael lived from his soul, but as he was a WW2 history enthusiast, this quote from Winston Churchill sums him up perfectly: “I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Since he requested no wake or service, if you wish to remember him, you can make a donation to The Lions Club International and/or to Cooking With The Troops. Cooking with the Troops Headquarters: 7607 Hawthorne Avenue Richmond, VA 23227 Website: www.cwtt.org Lions Club International Lionsclubs.com


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