Ermalinda Russo White
November 16, 1923 – May 18, 2020
Ermalinda Russo White, of Union, NJ, on May 18, 2020, peacefully at home, of old age, just as she'd hoped. She had just turned 96 and a half.
She leaves behind her beloved daughters, Judy White and David Lender of Milford, PA, and Joan White Weisbrod and devoted son-in-law David Weisbrod of Union, NJ, adored grandson Jonathan Weisbrod and Alicia Valko of Union, cherished caregiver Blessing Kpesrah of Irvington, and aide Semira Frankcoff of Irvington. Erma was predeceased by her husband, James F. White, daughter Janet Lynn White, sisters Grace Sinisi and Patricia Regueiro and brothers Sam and Alfonse Russo.
Born in Jersey City in 1923 to Italian immigrants Antonio Russo and Annunziata Lanni, Erma was an outstanding student who graduated two years early and longed to be an archaeologist, but went to work instead at 16 to help her family send her younger brothers to college. She vowed that her own daughters would never feel they couldn't achieve something just because they were girls. For the rest of her life she was a voracious reader, and well into her 90s still attended college courses in history and English literature. She read the newspaper every day until a few weeks before her death, and even started learning the piano at age 79, joking that in her next life she'd be that much more ahead.
In 1947, she married Jim White after meeting as a volunteer for a Jersey City Disabled American Veterans fundraiser he was helming. They moved to Union, where in 1950 they founded the James F. White Realty Co, which today is one of the oldest family-owned real estate businesses in NJ. Erma held real estate and insurance broker licenses, and was a 40-year Realtor-Emeritus of the National Association of Realtors.
Because of her daughter Janet's childhood disability, Erma and Jim founded the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ, hosting its first meeting in the basement of their Union home.
An extraordinarily spiritual person, she loved having her family stand on beaches, hold hands and chant "Om," and then join in laughter. She was passionate about Scrabble, pistachio ice cream, old movies, and Chanel No. 5. Erma was a truly selfless person who spent her life taking care of others. She finally got a chance to travel in her 80s, to the ruins of Pompeii, touring Italy, England and Amsterdam, and at 90 even walked the red carpet with her filmmaker daughters. Throughout it all, she counseled calm and peace. Her favorite advice rings especially true now: "This too shall pass."
A celebration of Erma's life will be held when possible.
Donations in her honor can be made to the Center for Hope Hospice, cfhh.org.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Ermalinda Russo White
May 28, 2020
God looked around HIS garden and saw an empty space, God looked on the earth and saw your tired face .He put His arm around you and lifted you to rest,no time to say GOODBYE and no farewell words uttered. NANA, taking care of you was an honor and we bonded so well, how can one easily forget in a hurry your AMAZING PERSONALITY?
It is difficult to think you are no more!!!
You will forever be remembered by those who you positively affected 💔
I will forever miss you in different ways,our pictures taking after cleaning you,your massage every morning,,watching movies on your favorite channel together (890 TCM),and your advice you give after watching, my goodnight and be safe when leaving at night ,NANA YOU WERE THE BEST,MAY YOUR GENTLE SOUL REST PEACEFULLY IN GOD'S HEAVENLY BLISS,TILL WE MEET AGAIN
YOUR AIDE SAMI.
e no more!!!!
May 22, 2020
I can’t help but share a memory I have. One of the first times we met, 25 years ago, in Joan and David’s backyard. Speaking of motherhood, my kids were still little, and Erma said to me:
“Let your children know they can come to you for anything. When they do, support their happiness, never react badly if it’s something you don’t agree with. Carry this through their adulthood”
Erma, I have, and thank you for this advice. Rest In Peace. Watch over all of us.
May 21, 2020
Erma was a force of good intention and action. She was loving, non-judgemental, and oh how she loved to laugh! A conversation with Erma was a delight, as her varied interests and life experiences brought unexpected perception to light. She will be remembered as a trail blazer and advocate for anyone who needed a strong voice and a can do attitude. On to this next adventure Erma, you will be greatly missed and always loved. Your stories will keep you with us.