A Ventnor City, New Jersey legend has passed away.

Albert J. Russo had a profound send-off today, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

From Professional Firefighters, to the Holy Spirit High School Football and so many other community members and leaders all attended Russo’s viewing at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home.

Russo served an honorable 30-year career as an Atlantic City Professional Firefighter.

Frank Finnerty posted the following on his Facebook page:

“The turnout of fireman from all the Shore communities at Saint James Church to show their final respects to AJ Russo and the patriarch of the well loved Russo family was impressive. Holy Spirit Football team came over, in school buses to honor their football coach's father,” wrote Finnerty.

Below, is a photo taken by Finnerty, which shows a respectful, long line of people, waiting to pay their respects to the Russo family, including the Holy Spirit High School students that Finnerty mentioned.

Frank Finnerty Photo via Facebook.
Frank Finnerty Photo via Facebook.

Regarding the life of Al Russo, this passage from his beautifully written obituary says it very well:

“Albert met the love of his life Nona Manion and they married in 1962. For 48 years, until her passing in 2010, they shared a bond unmatched by many and one that all of us hope to be a part of. They loved raising their three boys in Ventor and embraced the community. Just like Nona.”

”Al believed in giving back and volunteered his time to coaching youth sports in Ventnor (Babe Ruth baseball and the Ventnor Pirates) and was an active member of the Ventnor Athletic Association. Al and Nona could always be seen at Holy Spirit High School football and Atlantic County Junior Football League games supporting their family, community, and the lives that they touched.”

I first met Al Russo when I was a child in the iconic Ventnor City “Hutch” Basketball program.

It is one of the finest organized city league programs anywhere in America.

Al Russo was a competitive man, but, more importantly … he was a role model for children to learn numerous life numerous lessons from. He loved to win … but, always in the best way … he never wanted to win the worst way.

From his son AJ Russo’s Facebook page, here are a few photos of Al & Nona Russo.

AJ Russo photo via Facebook.
AJ Russo photo via Facebook.
AJ Russo via Facebook.
AJ Russo via Facebook.

“Albert was a graduate of Atlantic City High School (1950) and shortly upon graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy (1951-1955) where he honorably served as an airman and aviation mechanic on the aircraft carrier USS Leyte during the Korean War. After arriving back in the United States, Albert set forth on his life's journey starting a 30-year career as an Atlantic City Fireman (1956-1986) and establishing and owning Russo Ceramic Tile where he worked until the age of 87.”

Al is survived by:

His three sons A.J. (Rhonda Zucker) Russo of Ventnor, Mike (Lisa Alper) Russo and Joe (Jamie Eissler) of Northfield. Especially saddened by the void of losing their "Pop Pop" are his grandchildren, Erin, A.J. III, Haley, Logan, Joey Jr, Colt and Crew Russo.

In lieu of flowers, the Russo Family is asking for donations be made in Al's honor to the "Nona Russo Scholarship Fund" to help with educational expenses for Ventnor Pirate Football and Cheerleading participants who are planning to attend Holy Spirit High School. These donations can be sent Care of AJ Russo to 809 N. Cornwall Ave, Ventnor, NJ 08406.

Al Russo lived for 91 years. A life well lived.

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