Ray Augustine Russo
August 7, 1929 – November 4, 2020
Ray was born Ray Augustine Russo on August 7, 1929 in San Jose, California. He was the only child of John and Mary Russo, immigrants to the United States from Tricarico, Italy. Growing up amidst the orchards of Almaden, Ray was an active and athletic child. He eventually took his talent to the football field for Campbell High School.
After graduating from Campbell High, Ray proudly served his country by enlisting in the United States Navy. There he met a group of men, affectionately called The Spaghetti 5, who became lifelong friends. While home on leave, Ray met the love of his life, Carmen Marchese, at a local grocery store. They continued their courtship even while he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. On April 19, 1953 Ray and Carmen were married and remained lovingly devoted to each other for the next 67 years. For over 40 of those years, Ray and Carmen lived on the family ranch in Santa Clara. In 1962 they were blessed with the birth of their daughter Camille and in 1960 had son Ray Jr. A devoted husband and father, Ray Sr shared a passion for cars with his son and fishing off the pier in Santa Cruz with his family.
Not only was Ray an extraordinary husband and father, he was also a well respected, hardworking man. On the family ranches he was a foreman who made sure operations were running smoothly in a variety of locations on and around the ranches. While most of his career was spent in farming, he also worked as the Head of Groundskeeping at Santa Clara City Hall before retiring.
During his golden years, Ray enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, Tyler and Jacqueline Filizetti. He shared his love of sports with Tyler, attending all of Tyler's ice hockey and baseball games and watching many 49er games with him. Ray's last trip was in December to celebrate Jaqueline's 21st birthday in Las Vegas, and for the past 26 years Ray and Carmen have celebrated the Fourth of July at their beach house with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Ray was a die-hard 49er fan ever since the team rumbled on the turf in Kezar Stadium in the 1950s and 60s. The 49er Super Bowl parties at Ray and Carmen's house on the ranch in the 1990s were legendary. Perhaps it was at those parties that he perfected making his favorite cocktail, the Manhattan. On quieter days Ray enjoyed tending his garden and listening to Frank Sinatra.
On November 4, 2020 Ray passed away in Good Samaritan Hospital with his loving wife by his side. Ray is survived by his wife, Carmen Russo of San Jose, his children Camille Filizetti and son-in-law Joseph Filizetti of San Jose and Ray Russo Jr., of Santa Clara; grandchildren Tyler and Jacqueline Filizetti.
Private services will be held for the family. In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an organization close to Ray's heart and one he personally supported.
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital