Anna E. Russo, 93: Devoted family woman, active in community

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PORTLAND — Anna E. Russo, 93, died at her home Oct. 11, surrounded by her loving family.

She was born in Portland Nov. 22, 1919, daughter of Raphael and Felicia Cartonio.

Russo attended Portland schools graduating from Portland High School in 1937. She owned and operated a family luncheonette on India Street, with her husband, Alphonse Russo, for more 20 years, before leaving to work at Fairchild Semiconductor, where she retired after 25 years. Russo was full of energy and lived a very active life. She was devoted to her family but still found the time to give and care for others, always known to lend a helping hand or provide a meal to anyone in need.

She was a long time communicant of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, attended daily mass and was a lector, and an active member of Sacred Heart Sodality and Daughters of Isabella. She said the rosary daily and for the past 16 years was part of a Thursday night rosary group which she hosted at her home.

Russo was active in many organizations throughout her life. She was the president of the Munjoy Hill PTA, vice president of the Business Women’s Republican Club where she hosted many teas for candidates, including Senator Margaret Chase Smith, with whom she enjoyed a long friendship, Lincoln Club, Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW, weekly Red Cross Volunteer and a member of the Italian Heritage Center. She was one of the “Club Girls” since 1950 where she and her friends met each Monday night at her home to play cards and talk, bowled on the “Foxy Ladies” bowling team and played beano at St. Pius Church.

She was a passionate and enthusiastic fan of Portland High School athletics, especially the boys basketball team, where her son, Joe, is the coach. She was awarded a plaque as “Portland High’s Biggest Fan.” She made many pasta dinners for the basketball players and any other sports teams that were part of her grandchildren’s lives.

Russo’s devotion to her family was of utmost importance to her, having weekly Sunday dinners and holiday get-togethers. Christmas Eve was a special time for her and her family enjoying the traditional Italian feast. Her summer cottage on Brandy Pond in Naples provided many fond family memories. Her grandchildren were very important to her, never missing the events in their lives and always being there with chicken soup when they were sick. She made each one of them feel very special. Her great-grandchildren loved to entertain her.

She was predeceased by her husband, Alphonse V. Russo; her second husband, Alfred E. Neff; and sisters Phyllis Russo and Mary Amato.

She is survived by her children, Ronald Russo, and wife, Philomena, Joanne Desjardins, and husband, Donald, Mary Taliento, and husband, Ronald, Joseph Russo, and wife, Donna, Michael Russo, and wife, Susan, and Margaret Russo; stepchildren Allan Neff, Stephen Neff and wife, Martha, and Linda Neff; grandchildren, Ron Jr., Dawn Marie, Vincent, Maria, Regina, Gino, Scott, Anthony, Trisha, John, Gabriella, Angela, Keith, Liza and Julie; 18 great-grandchildren; and her special niece, Josephine Desarno.

The family would like to give heartfelt thanks to Dr. Douglas Couper for his many years of care; caregivers, Karen, Amenda, Angie, Janice and Jeanne; and the staff at Hospice of Southern Maine, especially Cindy, for their care and friendship.

Friends and family are invited to a period of visitation on Oct. 16 from 3-8 p.m., at A.T. Hutchins Funeral and Cremation Services, 660 Brighton Ave., Portland. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home Oct. 17, at 9 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 72 Federal St., Portland. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in her memory to American Red Cross 2401 Congress St. Portland, Maine 04102.

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