November 27, 1958 – August 2, 2021
Sometimes heroes are distant figures, up on pedestals and far away. Sometimes, though, they are right in front of us.
After a day full of visitors and with a heart overflowing with joy, our hero, Chris, unexpectedly slipped away in her sleep to go home to our Lord. She lived her life with determination, focus, laughter, friendship and love, right up to the end, and although she’s no longer with us here, her larger-than -life spirit will live on in all who loved her. Chris was the firstborn child to Joseph (Dixie) and Patricia Russo, followed by two younger sisters, Rita Gismondi and Michelle Russo. Her childhood years were active with singing, dancing, and training horses.
She graduated from Plum High School and then from Westminster College, where she played on the Lady Titan Volleyball team and was active in Kappa Delta sorority.
She taught English at Plum High School and then transitioned to corporate America working for major corporations such as American Airlines, Schneider Trucking and UPS Logistics. She retired from UPS Logistics as Director of Global Solutions, traveling the world with international business. The role she cherished the most was being a Mom.
She married Ron Brown and together they have a son Jacob Brown. Jacob was the love of her life and the catalyst for her determination to not only live, but to thrive and to make the most of each day. Chris was diagnosed with ALS more than 10 years ago but refused to let that slow her down. She enjoyed going to Jacob’s football games, visiting friends, going out, and traveling to Alaska, the Bahamas, Canada, and Europe - all while confined to a wheelchair. Through her determination, she lived to see Jacob graduate from high school and start college.
Her house was a revolving door of friends and family, with the kitchen table serving as a command post to make all things happen. With a team of caregivers and army of devoted friends as dear as family, she was able to stay active and fully engaged with those around her, in the end communicating only through eye-tracking technology – but communicating clearly nonetheless.
Chris loved animals; horses and dogs especially, but she also championed a campaign to save the bears in her local area of Florida. Recently a group of her friends raised money to have a future service dog named after her, a prospect that thrilled her. Sadly, she did not live to meet the puppy to be named ‘Russo”, from a litter yet to be born.
When Chris was diagnosed with ALS, she met the challenge with the same fierceness and determination that characterized the rest of her life. She wrote a blog documenting her experiences, with the hope of helping others, educating people about ALS, and advocating for research and funding; it can be found here:
Christine Russo ALS and the Art of Living | Helping Others Navigate the Challenges of ALS (wordpress.com)
Chris Russo was a true inspiration for all that knew her. Now we picture her strength and resilience in the face of her illness, but in reality, that was Chris her whole life. Compelled to do more, to be more than anyone ever thought possible. A life without limits. Turning challenges into opportunities. Chris made a difference in our lives and in this world. There is no greater legacy than that.
In lieu of flowers please make contributions to ALS or Canine Companions: https://p2p.onecause.com/canine-companions-donate?_gl=1*a9ehzx*_ga*MTM4MTYyMjQyOC4xNjI3OTUxMzI5*_ga_R0H844EJY6*MTYyNzk1MTMyOC4xLjAuMTYyNzk1MTMyOC4w&_ga=2.7247602.1914653487.1627951329-1381622428.1627951329
A celebration of life was held on Friday, September 10 at the Longwood Community Center.
Zoom link and password to the recording: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/nx-tTfhWR57zrtzV-1f2c91Qj_BoBn4lYlIR1tKVl9-6JKrTKX1NtJatAvdEGgZR.ZSQCGDZjUxwPquhG
Access Passcode: ?EJ+20?0
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2021 – Mass at Mothers of Sorrows Church For those in the Pittsburgh area, please join us on Saturday, October 16, at Mother of Sorrows Church in Murrysville for a Mass at 10:30 AM followed by refreshments and memory sharing in the church social hall. Contact Rita if you have any questions – 412-719-1589.
Mother Of Sorrows Address is: 4202 Old William Penn Hwy, Murrysville, PA 15668.
Please contact 412-719-1589 if interested in staying for refreshments after the mass.
Saturday, October 16, 2021
September 10, 2021
Who was Christine Russo? The life of the party? A dependable friend? A Godly woman? A great singer and entertainer? A great listener? A great writer? A great teacher? A great mother? An earth angel? A successful businesswoman? Wonder Woman? She was all these things and more. But most of all she Loved people and she also loved animals almost as much! She was a wonderful friend, confidant, and advocate. It was good to have her in your corner because she was the kind of person who would do anything to help you. She would be first in line. She'd take care of the world if she could. Can you imagine her frustration when her illness got in the way of her life’s agenda?
But, through the best of times and the worst of times, Chris was still Chris. When she was dealt a bad hand, she kept playing till the end. She never gave up, never gave in. We all prayed for a miracle, we prayed for a cure. Today is a bittersweet day for all of us whom she loved first and who loved her back. We wanted her to be restored to her former vibrant and vivacious self…but guess what? Because of her faith in Jesus, our prayers have been answered. She is now healed, no longer held back by her failing body. She is free from that wheelchair and all that went with it. Praise God!
What was Christine’s prayer? “Lord Jesus let me live long enough to see my son grow up, become a man of God, and go off to college.” Lord answered Chris’ selfless prayer even though it meant prolonged suffering for her. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the Crown of Life that the Lord promised to those who love him.” She is wearing that crown now. She has fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith, and she is now with Jesus, her dear sister Michelle, and family and friends that have gone on before her. She leaves behind an endearing legacy that will live on in all our hearts. What a Blessing! Thank you, Jesus
August 23, 2021
Plain and simple, she touched so many lives and so many of us loved her because of who she was and the way she lived and loved. We had a special bond even though since leaving Westminster in 1980, our paths didn't cross again until I visited her in Florida before COVID in 2019. She loved life, she loved her son and she loved her family and friends. We only called each other by our last names......so.....Russo, rest easy now, girl..... I will be praying for you, your son and family, thank you for shining your light on me. love, Pickup.
August 19, 2021
Even as a child, Chris was happy, energetic and a positive thinker. She was always involved and wanted you to be too. Wouldn't let anyone sit on the sidelines! Fearless and confident in anything she did.
That's what I'll remember the most about Chris.