Lillian M. Russo
March 27, 1927 – February 13, 2018
Lillian Palazzolo was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Her parents were Giuseppe Palazzolo and Rosaria Stabile of Castellamarre del Golfo, Sicily. Her father was a bricklayer, and her mother a seamstress. She had two older siblings, Vincent Palazzolo and Sarina Marinaro. On August 10, 1958, Lillian married Ignatius C. Russo, a New York City school teacher and World War II veteran of the United States Marine Corps. They had two children, Marianne (1959), Charles (1960), and resided in Baldwin, Long Island, New York from 1966 to 1983. Lillian and Iggy were married for 48 years until his passing in 2006. She had four grandchildren and 11 nieces and nephews. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and teacher.
Lillian was accepted to Hunter College in Manhattan on full academic scholarship and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1947 at the age of 19, with a 3.9 GPA. She immediately began teaching high school social studies in East Harlem. After earning her master’s degree from New York University in 1957, she served in elementary education at P.S. 136 in St. Albans, Queens. Lillian taught the emotionally disturbed, served as assistant principal, and as dean of discipline at P.S. 136 until 1968. She was a teacher and administrator at P.S. 41 in Bayside, Queens from 1968 until retiring in 1982. After moving to Lighthouse Point, Florida in 1983, she continued working as a teacher, and in banking, until the age of 81.
Lillian taught in the New York City School System for 32 years. She impacted the lives of thousands of students during her tenure. She was an intellectual powerhouse and an academic icon within her family history. When it comes to women in the workforce, she was a trail blazer, a pioneer, who was a working professional woman in 1947. Many people talk about gender equality, but Lillian lived it. She plowed the way for many who would follow her.
She is survived by her daughter Dr. Marianne Robin Russo and grandson Bryce Noah Russo of Lighthouse Point Florida, and by her son Dr. Charles J. Russo, his wife Margie Lynn Russo, and grandchildren Jennifer Brooke Russo, Luke Charles Russo, and Brent Austin Russo of Bel Air, Maryland. “Reach for the highest star, or what’s a heaven for.” She will be sorely missed.
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Lillian M. Russo
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February 17, 2018
I am so sorry to hear about Lillian's passing. My family has very fond memories of living across from Lillian and Iggy for 23 years, and our many talks together. Our Thoughts and Prayers to the entire family,