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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • John J. Russo

  • John J. Russo of Hawley, PA, an artist and teacher of art, was called home to eternal life on Sunday, March 11, 2012. He was 91.


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  • John J. Russo of Hawley, PA, an artist and teacher of art, was called home to eternal life on Sunday, March 11, 2012. He was 91.
    Son of the late Angela and Joseph Russo, he was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on August 21, 1920. His family also lived in Cleveland before moving to Brooklyn, NY. John attended The Parsons School of Design, and after graduating in 1942, served as a Sergeant in the Army Air Force at Stewart Field, NY, for 3 -1/2 years. He married his wife, Christine, who was in the WAAC and also stationed at Stewart Field, in 1947 and had four children. They settled on Staten Island to raise their family.
    John returned to Parsons as an instructor and then Chairman of the Communication Design Department. For almost 40 years he was a mentor and confidant to probably more Graphic Designers than any other teacher in the profession. He was so well-liked by the faculty and students that he was awarded the prestigious Parson’s Medal and also and honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. As the “resident mensch” at Parsons, he saw art everywhere around him. With an unfettered imagination, his art expressed humor and an infectious joie de vivre.
    After retiring from Parson’s he moved to Hawley with his wife Christine. He became very involved with the Wayne County Arts Alliance and they honored him as a Living Treasure in 2007 and made a video about his life. The WCAA called him “chicken soup for the art lover’s soul.” He also participated for many years in the Open Studio Tours. He loved to share his artwork with others and would often give away drawings to anyone who came to visit his studio. He drawings can be found in many homes and businesses in Wayne County.
    John was very devoted to his family. He and Christine would involve the whole family in making a hilarious video each year to send to the relatives at Christmas. They were always busy doing some project – from constructing an enormous star out of cardboard rolls, to decorating sheets with Christmas themes to hang outside their house. More recently, he enjoyed the camaraderie of the folks at the Hawley Senior Center. John attended Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale.
    John is predeceased by his wife of 54 years, Christine; children, Dr. Elizabeth Russo and David; and brothers, Joseph and Eugene. He is survived by his daughter, Joan Russo of Hawley; son Joseph and wife AnneMarie of Staten Island, NY; daughter-in-law, Lorraine Russo of Brooklyn, NY; and grandchildren, Nicholas, Michael and Elizabeth Russo and Stephanie Dunphy and her husband Patrick; and great grandson Theodore.
    Calling hours will be Wednesday, March 14, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Teeters’ East Chapel, 505 Church St, Hawley, PA. The funeral will be Thursday, March 15, at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, Ninth and Church Sts., Honesdale, with Rev. Edward K. Erb, Rector, officiating.
    Page 2 of 2 - Donations may be made to Wayne County Arts Alliance, 812 Main St., Honesdale, PA 18431, for a scholarship in his name.
    For further information, directions or to leave a Memorial Remembrance (Candle) visit www.TeetersFuneralChapel.com.
    Arrangements by Teeters' Funeral Chapel, 505 Church St., Hawley, PA 18428.
     

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