Visitation at Funeral Home
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, February 15, 2024
FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home
17 S. Delaware Avenue
Yardley, Pennsylvania, United States
Friday, February 16, 2024
Our Lady Of Good Counsel Catholic Church
137 W. Upper Ferry Road
Ewing, New Jersey, United States
Obituary of Richard J. Russo
Please share a memory of Richard to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Richard J. Russo, 96, of Ewing Twp., passed away on February 8, 2024. Born in Trenton, NJ, he was a graduate of Trenton Central High School, Class of 1945. Mr. Russo was a Petty Office, 2nd Class, in the U.S. Navy and served as "Ships Company' aboard several vessels in the American and Pacific Theaters (on the West Coast and in the Philippines) during and immediately following World War II. He was awarded the Victory, American Theater, and the Asiatic Pacific medals, and was honorably discharged. He received a Baccalaureate Degree in Pharmacy from Fordham University in 1952, a Master's Degree in Public Health from the Columbia School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine in 1953, and a Graduate Certificate in Government Administration from the Fells Institute, Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania in 1960. He also received certificates for completing graduate studies at Rutgers University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Rhode Island, and several branches of the U.S. Public Health Service. Mr. Russo was appointed a Fellow of the American Public Health Association. He was recognized in Who's Who in Public Health. He was also recognized for his contributions to Public Health from The Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Pharmaceutical Association, the NJ State Legislature, the NJ State Department of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Mr. Russo worked briefly for the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company, and the Marsh and Company Pharmacy in Princeton, NJ, before entering the state government service. Prior to his retirement from state service in 1992, he served as a Special Assistant to the Commissioner in the NJ State Department of Health, and as a Deputy Commissioner for Preventive Health Services. He was Deputy Director, Acting Director, Director, and Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Services from 1969 to 1990. He was a Bureau Chief for Narcotic Addiction and Drug Abuse in the NJ State Department of Institutions and Agencies from 1968 to 1969. Prior to 1968 he served as the Coordinator for the Drug, Device & Cosmetic Program, the Preventable Disease Program, the founder of the original NJ Poison Control Program, and the manager of the New Jersey Poliomyelitis Vaccine Field Trial Program, all while in the State Department of Health. In 1989 he also served as the Deputy Director for Treatment in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, Washington D.C. In the early 1970s, Mr. Russo received a Presidential appointment by President Nixon to the National Action Committee on Drug Education. He was Chairman of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the National Drug Abuse Center, and on two separate occasions the Secretary of Health & Human Services appointed him to serve two terms as one of twelve members of the National Advisory Council in the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Health. He also was commissioned as an officer under the authority of the Federal Food & Drug Administration. Immediately upon his retirement from State Government he served as Substance Abuse Project Director with the consulting firm of Birch & Davis of Silver Springs, MD. Mr. Russo has been a consultant to many local, state, and national substance abuse agencies, and he has received numerous leadership awards in the substance abuse field. He was a member of the Bordentown, and the Incarnation Council of the Knights of Columbus. He served on the Ewing Twp. Planning Board and was an active member of the Trenton Torch Club. At the 60-year anniversary celebration of Fordham University's Sailing Team in 2010, he was inducted into Fordham's Athletic Hall of Fame as a Co-Founder and Charter Member of the Sailing Team. Mr. Russo lived for his lovely wife, Patricia, and their three children. Sailing was his favorite pastime and enjoyment and he sailed whenever he could get out on the water on Barnegat Bay or at their seasonal home(s) at Loon Lake in Chestertown, and in Westport on Lake Champlain, both in Upstate New York. Mr. Russo was predeceased by his daughter Kathleen Russo, and his siblings Thomas M. Russo of Manahawkin, NJ, and Nannette Tejeski of Ewing, NJ. He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years Patricia (Fox) Russo, his children Frances R. Cress and her husband Mark of Longmeadow, MA, and R. James Russo and his wife Kate of Lewis, NY, and his granddaughters Eliza and Caroline Cress. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 10:30am at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church 137 W. Upper Ferry Road, Ewing, NJ 08628. Calling hours will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2024, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home 17 S. Delaware Ave. Yardley, PA 19067. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery 1200 Cedar Lane, Hamilton, NJ 08610. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, or the Hun School, both in Princeton, NJ. Condolences for the family can be left at www.fitzgeraldsommerfuneralhome.com.