Josephine Rose Russo, 99, peacefully departed this life on June 27, 2020. Affectionately nicknamed “Jo,” “Jo Jo” and “Josie,” Jo was born on September 28, 1920 in Capo Milazzo on the island of Sicily to Vincenza and Angelo Russo. When Jo was six months old, she sailed to the United States with her parents and resided on Tennessee Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas for her entire life until moving to Trinity Village in 2010.
Jo graduated from Pine Bluff High School and began her career as a clerk at the Jefferson County Courthouse. She continued her career as an administrative assistant at Dierks Paper Mill. Jo was a devout Catholic and an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church her entire life. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, the Altar Society, and a past member of the Pine Bluff Symphony Notables. A true servant, Jo volunteered countless hours at St. Joseph in varying roles. She served lunch at St. Joseph’s school, always on dollar pizza day and was known for giving extra slices, and faithfully helped with the annual spaghetti supper.
Jo cared deeply for her friends and family and truly made an impact on others. Jo always made those she loved feel special and important. Jo will be remembered for calling the radio station and asking the DJ to wish her friends a happy birthday, keeping a notebook of hundreds of names to contact annually for spaghetti supper tickets, always offering her family and friends pony beers, and, most importantly, being a faithful servant of God. Jo is predeceased by her parents and three infant siblings.
Jo is survived by several cousins and godchildren, including Lisa (Kim) Kosmitis and Mike (Robin) Watts and their families, and longtime caregiver and friend, Imogene Franklin.
Many thanks to Lisa Kosmitis who provided loving support and care to Jo. Though Jo suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last decade of her life, Lisa continued to regularly visit Trinity Village to talk, occasionally bring her a hot dog to enjoy, and ensure Jo knew she was loved and not alone.
The funeral mass will be Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 10:00am at St. Joseph Catholic Church with Father Joseph Marconi and Deacon Noel F. “Bud” Bryant officiating. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery. The rosary will be Monday, June 29, 2020 at 5:30pm at Robinson’s. Visitation will follow at 6:00pm. Masks and social distancing will be required at both the church and the funeral home per the Governor’s guidelines.
Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 412 West 6th Avenue, Pine Bluff, AR 71601.