Michael Russo

February 21, 1937 – May 15, 2024

Rupert, VT – Michael Russo, a resident of Rupert, VT, passed away at 87 on May 15, 2024, in Rutland, VT. His loving family surrounded Michael as he bat­tled a brief illness. The family is honoring Michael’s request for no wake or calling hours and is planning a private Catholic service at a later date.

Mike, as many called him, was born to Grace (Ross) and Law­rence Russo in Granville, NY, on February 21, 1937. His parents of Italian descent loved and cared for Michael and his older sister, Rosalie Russo Terrio.

Michael graduated from Granville High School in 1954. He dreamed of joining the Army to be part of the Military Band, but he needed his mom’s approval­ because of his age, and she said no. Instead, Michael began to pursue a college degree in music at Ithaca College in Itha­ca, NY. He could not continue at Ithaca, so he returned home to continue his studies and fin­ish his education at Castleton College in Castleton, VT. From Castleton, he graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ed­ucation and then a Master’s of Education in 1965 from the University of Buffalo. The education he gained would shape the rest of his life. Still, to this day, the number of people who had Mr. Russo as a teacher is too numerous to count.

Michael married the love of his life, Marcia Graf Russo, in Buffalo, NY, on May 28, 1966. Michael and “Mabel” as he called her, his devoted wife of 58 years, had a beautiful relationship. And later, as Marcia became his caregiver in 2011, their bond became even stronger and was present right up until the time of his passing. Michael and Marcia had four sons: David, Joel, Gabe, and Jeremy. ‘His boys’ were also one of his proudest accomplish­ments, and he was always eager to discuss them.

Michael had many jobs throughout his life, including being the principal at the Ben­nington Elementary School, a dairy farmer, a bus driver, and a teacher. His true passion was teaching. He spent many years as a third-grade teacher in Dorset, VT, at the elementary school, after that, he began a career at ·the Warren/Washington County BOCES, teaching his students career-building skills and lessons on becoming valuable employees. Never one to be idle, during the summer months when school was out, you could find him at Lake Saint Catherine running the original ‘Hungry Harvey’ crew and then later checking in boats at the marina. He was also one of the work­ers who helped build the pipe works for the Flower Brook Hydro, which was part of the pow­er generation for Machs Market in Pawlet. After retiring in 2005 from BOCES, his involvement in the school system continued. He became a substitute for the local schools, and then he started to drive the bus for the Long Trail School in Dorset.

Michael’s love for music nev­er wavered. One of his greatest joys was playing music for others. That could include the piano at a family party, the organ for services of many denominations of religion, including Methodist, Episcopal, and Catholic, or even the bugle at football games. He was always willing to volunteer for the town marching band and play anything from the cymbals to the drums and the trumpet. Michael loved to care for his property, especially his lawn, and he took-great pride in mak­ing it look beautiful. He always gave more to others, including being a blood donor for many years, volunteering to drive the high school football team bus, and performing taps for military service. He was an avid reader, did endless word puzzles, and loved to watch anything related to the military on TV. He knew these activities kept his mind sharp and his wit strong, proven evident until the days before he passed. He quoted Shakespeare and assigned tasks to all of us.

Michael was preceded in death by his parents, Grace, and Lawrence. Michael is survived by his wife Marcia, Sons David (Denise), Joel (Cassie), Gabe, and Jeremy (Jennie), his sister Rosie, and a large extended family. His love for his family was even more evident in his eleven grandchildren: Emma, Sarah, Sophia, Tim, Jack, Elijah, Sam, Silas, Grace, Maggie, and Enzo.

The family would also like to thank the caregivers who were part of Michael’s care team over the last thirteen years. With their help, Michael was able to be at home with Marcia, and we are eternally grateful for their passion and support.

In memory of Michael, please consider donating to the Pember Library, 33 West Main St., Granville, NY 12832, or the Granville Rescue Squad, 64 E. Potter Ave. Granville, NY 12832.