The Daily Star
---- — Francis R. “Cootie” Russo Jr.
ONEONTA — Francis R. “Cootie” Russo Jr., 83, of Oneonta, passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2013, at his residence with his loving family at his side.
He was born in Oneonta on May 17, 1930, the son of Ralph and Faustina (Scorzafava) Russo.
Cootie joined the Air Force in 1950, where he met and married his wife, Sheila, of nearly 60 years.
After leaving the Air Force, Cootie worked on the D&HRR. He later became a fire fighter for the City of Oneonta, and retired as fire chief after 33 years of service to the department.
Cootie was also a NYS Fire Instructor, as well as a self-employed painter, operating the RCM Painting Business. Cootie also served as an Alderman representing the 6th Ward.
He was a founding member of Fire Union Local 2408, the 6th Ward Athletic Association, serving as president and treasurer, and the 6th Ward Booster Club where he was also president and served on the board of directors.
He was a member of St. Mary’s Church and served as an usher, and was a volunteer for St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Dinner, and with his wife he delivered Meals on Wheels.
Cootie was a catcher in the Oneonta Municipal Softball League and was instrumental in the founding of the Oneonta Fast Pitch Softball League which played at the 6th Ward Booster Club field. He also coached Pee Wee Football and actively followed Oneonta High School football. His favorite hobby was helping the community.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila Russo of Oneonta; his children, Renee (Thomas) House of Oneonta, Gina (Timothy) Franey of Virginia, and Frank III (Diane) Russo of Oneonta; his grandchildren, Thomas House, Angela (Mike) Ellwanger, Leanae (James) King, Leah Franey, Lauren Franey, Frank Russo, Justin Russo and Antonio Russo; his great-grandchildren, Caleb House, Shaylee House, Michael Ellwanger, Lucia Ellwanger, Dominic Franey, Mila Zelaya, Coralie and Arya King; his sister and brothers, Theresa (Joe) Farro, Santo Russo, Robert (Josephine) Russo, Joseph (Marge) Russo. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law, William Grimes, John and Sonia Siegal, Ronald and Gail Thurley; and several nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Rose Grimes; and a sister-in-law, Judith Russo.
A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2013, at St. Mary’s Church, 39 Walnut St., with the Rev. David Mickiewicz, pastor, officiating. Interment with military honors will be in the Oneonta Plains Cemetery.
There will be no calling hours.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers may be made to the Lower Deck Events, c/o Chief Russo Memorial Playground Fund, 5 Parish Ave., Oneonta, NY 13820 or the Catskill Area Hospice, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting the website at www.grummonsfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.