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Richard Albert Russo
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Richard Albert ("Dick") Russo passed away peacefully in his home in Mill Valley, CA on January 8, 2024, after the recent celebrations of his 90th birthday and 65th wedding anniversary to his beloved wife Janice Steege Russo. In addition to his devoted wife, Richard is survived by his three daughters and their husbands: Cynthia and Michael Dougherty (Livingston, NY), Lauren and Michael Chocholak (Mill Valley, CA), and Kristen and Michael House (Mill Valley, CA). PopPop, as he was affectionately called, was adored by his nine grandchildren: Sarah, Frances, and Elizabeth Dougherty, Lindsay Chocholak (Billy) Cohen, Caroline Chocholak, and Madison, Maud, Malia, and Michael House. Richard also leaves behind many nieces and nephews.Richard was predeceased by his six siblings Joseph, Leonard, Louise, Francis, Alfred, and Edward.Born in Hartford, CT in 1933, Richard took great pride in his Italian American heritage and the achievements of his immigrant family. He was the son of Mary Potenza Russo and Joseph Russo, who emigrated alone as a young child to the United States. From an early age, Richard embraced his education and was driven by an unwavering work ethic. After attending Weaver and Hall High Schools in CT, Richard was a first-generation college graduate, earning a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MA in Public Administration from the University of Connecticut. Following his studies, Richard served in the U.S. Army and remained as Reserve Status through 1962. Richard instilled in his family the value of education and proudly wore his extensive collection of baseball hats and sweatshirts from his grandchildren's various schools and colleges from across the country.Dedicated to the public sector, Richard had a distinguished career in government finance. He started his professional life with the State of CT in the Budget Division where he met his future wife Janice. Richard and Janice married in 1958 and embarked on a life together appreciating the various places his career took their family, especially the overseas adventures. With two small children, Richard and Janice moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where Richard worked as a public administration consultant and enjoyed traveling extensively throughout the Middle East.Returning to the U.S., Richard spent a majority of his career as the Director of Finance and Treasurer for the Town of West Hartford, CT, where he and Janice raised their family. Serving in this capacity from 1967-1984, Richard implemented numerous innovative "firsts" that benefitted the community.Later in his career, Richard was a successful consultant for Price Waterhouse, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (where he and Janice seized the opportunity to live in Armenia for two years), the City of Greensboro, NC, and the City of Waterbury, CT. When he retired, Richard and Janice left their roots and settled in Mill Valley where he enjoyed daily walks, following his favorite sports teams, and reading. A life-long learner, Richard was an avid reader of multiple newspapers and non-fiction books. Family members knew they had to be up on their current events, history, and politics before attending a family gathering with PopPop! Richard was most proud of his grandchildren, and he relished spending time with them. His grandchildren will fondly remember joining PopPop and MorMor (Janice) during their "cocktail hour", appreciating PopPop's enthusiastic interest in their academic, sports, and work endeavors, and hearing stories about his travels. PopPop will forever be in their hearts.A highly intelligent and fiercely proud man, Richard lived his life with honor and integrity. In the words of his favorite entertainer and fellow Italian American, Frank Sinatra, he did so "his way." He will be dearly missed. Richard's family would like to thank the amazing team of caregivers who supported him in his last months.Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral Mass on Monday, January 29th at 10:00 a.m. at St. Patrick Church, 114 King Street, Larkspur, CA. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Richard's memory may be made to St. Patrick Church (https://stpatricksparish.com/giving) or The Redwoods (https://redwoodsbloom.kindful.com/). Assisted by Monte's Chapel of the Hills, San Anselmo, CA.
Published by Marin Independent Journal on Jan. 21, 2024.