Angelo A. “Rico” Russo

May 31st, 2012

Angelo A. “Rico” Russo, age 85, of Wilmington, died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on May 31, 2012.

Rico was born on July 3, 1926, in Burlington, MA. He was a cherished son of the late Angelo and Angelina (Aramando) Russo and was one of nine siblings. Rico grew up on the family farm in Burlington, part of a large, loving, and tight knit family.  In 1942, at only the age of 16, he made an unsuccessful attempt to enlist in the U. S. Navy with his older brothers Freddie, Tony, Charlie, and Rudy. Rico later enlisted in the Navy on September 25, 1943 and began a long and impressive career with the Military, spanning two wars, and many years of honorable service to our Country.

Rico was initially sent to Norfolk, VA and attended Armed Guard School with the intention of being a gunner on Navy Ships. What should have been a 26 week course was crammed into a mere six weeks for a very dangerous job, and Rico took on his first assignment as a gunner aboard the S.S. Theodore Sedgwick.  Rico’s first deployment took him through the Middle East, England, Northern France, and back to the United States. He was thrust into the heat of battle right away, trying desperately to get supplies to the troops, and saw much tragedy as a young sailor. His next assignment was aboard the S.S. Rosemont bound for the Mediterranean. They made their way through various ports in Italy and were confronted in battle by a few German U-boats and German air strikes.  Rico’s experiences during WWII did not stop there as he also served on yet another armed naval cargo ship, the S.S. Thomas Sim Lee and traveled to Murmansk, Russia. He was discharged on April 17, 1946 and joined the Army National Guard later that year where he served until 1947.  

Rico wanted to serve the country in each and every military branch, so that same year he joined the U.S. Air Force on October 28, 1947. He received training at Ft. Slocum Air Force Base in New Rochelle, New York.  Following his training, Rico was assigned to Westover Air Force Base and then on to Travis Air Force Base in California.  He served all over the Asiatic Pacific Theatre and was assigned to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where he attended Flight Steward School.  Rico was part of the Military Air Transport Service, Pacific Air Command Division.  He saw a lot of action during the Korean War and was there for the beginning of the Cold War where he was stationed in Germany and took part in the Berlin Air Lift.  Rico received many commendations and medals for his bravery and time served during World War II and the Korean War. He was honorably discharged on November 6, 1951 and returned to his home and family. When Rico returned from the Korean War he immediately enlisted in the Woburn National Guard.

 Rico returned to Burlington and on January 15, 1955, he married the “love of his life” Bernice M. Russo.  Rico and Bernice moved to Wilmington over 40 years ago where they raised their children. Rico loved being a father and he was very active and involved. He coached Wilmington Pop Warner for many years and was Past President of the Club. Rico loved kids; he gave countless hours coaching and helping not only his children but the children of Wilmington. He was a role model and mentor to many, and in return he earned the love and respect of many children as well as their parents.  When not coaching, Rico could be found at “the fence” of Wilmington High School’s Football Field taking in a practice or watching a football game, always encouraging and supporting the players. He was a true “Wildcat Fan”.

Rico was a hard worker, always providing a stable and loving home for his family. Prior to retiring he worked for the Government for many years as a Shop Steward and Tester with the U. S. Army Corps. of Engineers, first in Waltham and then at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford.  Rico was a reliable and dedicated employee and a wonderful co-worker.

 In his spare time, Rico enjoyed traveling to Florida for the winter with Bernice. They made friends wherever they went but he always looked forward to returning to Wilmington to be with his children and grandchildren. Rico also loved gardening, either vegetables or plants didn’t matter, he loved digging in the dirt. He was a great cook, famous for his “red gravy”. He liked watching the New England Patriots, science fiction television, and the study of metaphysics. He was a deeply spiritual person who truly believed in PMA, “Positive Mental Attitude”, and shared that belief with everyone he met.  Rico also had a competitive side, and he and his brother Rudy relished playing, though seldom beating, their wives Bernice and Gracie in a good game of pinochle. Rico was also a talented square dancer and he and Bernice joined “Skirts and Flirts” in Wilmington many years ago. They made dear friends with thirteen other couples, always making it a point to keep in touch even to this day.

 Most important to Rico was his family. He loved his wife unconditionally, enjoyed watching his children grow, and, when the grandchildren came along, he became the “Greatest Papa” and they were his pride and joy.

Rico was a man who was honest, kind, and generous, he was very down to earth and humble as well. He had an infectious smile and everyone around him was drawn to him. Rico had a way of making adults as well as children feel good about themselves and was always willing to lend a hand or an ear when needed.  Rico was a remarkable man and a proud Veteran; he left a wonderful legacy and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

 Rico was the beloved husband of 57 years to Bernice M. Russo, devoted father of Debra Russo, Phillip Russo & his wife Meg, and Michael Russo & his wife Sandi all of Wilmington, and Joseph Russo & his wife Lisa of Billerica, loving “Papa” of  Jamie DiGeorge & her husband Sean, Joseph, Angela, Nicholas, P.J., Natalie, Jacob, Sydnee, Jordan, Samantha, and Michael Russo.  Dear brother of Chris Russo of Sarasota, FL, Catherine Riga of Pepperell, Anna Lisacki of Woburn, and the late Mary Wingert, Anthony, Frederick, Charles, and Rudolph “Rudy” Russo. Rico is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

 Family and friends will gather in the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, for Visiting Hours on Monday, June 4th from 4-8 p.m. followed by a Prayer Service and Military Honors at 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Angelo’s name may be made to The Home for Little Wanderers, Development Dept., 271 Huntington Ave., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02115.


26 Entries in Guest Book for “Angelo A. “Rico” Russo”

  1. Al and Lucille and Family says:

    Dear Bernie,
    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Anyone who ever met Rico will have wonderful memories.
    When we would stop to say “Hi”, Rico would always have some words of wisdom.
    He is home in heaven now flying with the angels.

  2. Anne Flynn says:

    Joe and Lisa:
    My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Your father was a remarkable, loving family man.

  3. Helen Newcomb says:

    Dear Mike & family,
    My condolences on the passing of your father…I’m sure he will be sorely missed. Mike, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Helen Newcomb
    Operations Division
    US Army Corps of Engineers

  4. Jenny Mills says:

    Joe and Lisa–
    So very sorry for your loss. I’m thinking of you all and the family during this difficult time.

  5. Stephanie Herlihy says:

    Joe, Lisa and family,

    my deapest condonlences. He certainly raised a loving family and his memories with you will last a lifetime.

    Stephanie Herlihy

  6. Joycee Boudreau says:


    I am so sorry for the loss of your father. It will be sad at first but remember the good times with him and all he gave you. You became the man you are because of him. May God Bless

  7. Lynn Blanch says:

    Joe, Lisa & Family,
    I am so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Lynn Blanch

  8. Robert Sarao says:

    PJ and Family… I am very sorry to hear of your loss… I know he meant a great deal to you…. Our thoughts and prayers are with you….

  9. Kelly (Hersom) Michaud says:

    Debra & Nick,

    Very sorry to hear about your father/grandfather. Nick I know your grandfather ment a lot to you. God Bless.

    Kelly,Jack and John Michaud

  10. Carl says:

    Phil , From all of us here at Bon Appetit we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family.. On a personal note , I wish I could have met Rico after many years in the Navy myself we could have shared some great stories…Carl

  11. Eldridge Family says:

    Joe, we were so sorry to hear about your father’s passing. We know this is a very sad and difficult time for you and your family. You have our very deepest sympathy. If you need help with anything at all, please do not hesitate!

  12. Marcy Ragucci says:

    May kindness and prayers help you, Bernice, and the entire Russo family through this most difficult time. Rico was a remarkable man who left an indelible impression on me. I will always cherish the time he spent recounting his precious memories to me. It was my privilege to share his story of adversity and triumph with others. He told me, “If it isn’t your time to die, you’re not going to die.” Well, I guess it finally was his time. Now it is his family’s time to grieve the loss of such a great man here on earth. Today, somewhere in heaven, Rico must be looking down on his beloved family and feeling so very proud knowing that you will carry him in your hearts forever.

  13. Holly McCormick says:

    Joe, Lisa and Family,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss! You are in my thoughts and prayers during this time. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Holly McCormick

  14. MaryAnn & Dickie says:

    Bernice, our thoughts and prayers are with you. We have many happy memories of Rico at “Happy Hour”, taking care of the beautiful plants that lined your deck in Florida. Rico always had a kind word for anyone passing by, and always had a little known fact he was willing to share. As with all good people, he will be sadly missed.

    MaryAnn & Dickie Munroe

  15. Jimmy & Monica says:

    Dear Bernie,
    You know that Jimmy & I will miss him dearly (pajamas and all). Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We will greatly miss his many hours of philosophy and his wonderful smile and yours. We will sure be looking for “planet Rico” and know that he is looking down at us.

    Love, Jimmy and Monica

  16. Frank and Cindi DiGeorge says:

    Dear Bernice, Joe and Lisa, Jamie, Joey and Angela. . .
    Please accept our deepest condolences; our thoughts and prayers are with you and the Russo family. Though we met “Rico” and you Bernice only briefly at the engagement and wedding of Sean and Jamie, I knew we were meeting two wonderful people who shared a lifetime of romance and adventure. I am glad Sean spent time in Boston and got to know Rico better than he might otherwise have. We are all diminished and grieve at his passing. May it bring you comfort to know that your host of guardian angels includes your husband, father and grandfather. . . a member of the Navy Armed Guard.
    Love, Frank and Cindi DiGeorge & Family

  17. Char West says:

    Joe, Lisa and Family
    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. May all the wonderful memories you have had with him help you get through this difficult time.

  18. Vera Crane says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  19. vinnie Denufrio says:

    My deepest sympathies for the loss of a wonderful man. He was a joy to be with and I, along with most will miss him dearly.

  20. Joanne miller says:

    Joe, Lisa and family,

    My sincere sympathies to all in the death of your father. Reading his obituary shows me that he was a great man, loved his family and country. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. Joe Cusson says:

    Joe, Lisa and family,

    My condolences on your loss. I had the pleasure of meeting your Dad while attending a Boston College Football game with the Russo boys. You could tell he had a zest for life, with his quick wit and love for sports; he made the day enjoyable and a memorable one

  22. The Lobao Family says:

    Phil, Meg and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
    Liz, Wil, Andrew and Stevie

  23. The Stimpson Family says:

    Mike, Sandi, Samantha and Mike,

    We are sorry for your great loss. Peace, Kathleen, Scott, Siobhan, Rory and Nolan

  24. Liz Noble says:

    Bernice & Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss, Rico was a wonderful man he will be missed by so many. I will remember his big smile and always being so positive. R.I.P. Uncle Rico

  25. Brian & Carole McGrath says:

    Our deepest sympathy to all of the Russo family. It was always a pleasure when we would see Mr. Russo around town (usually rooting on one of the grandkids at a ball game.) Our thoughts & prayers are with you all.
    Brian & Carole McGrath and family

  26. Nancy Fleming says:

    Joe, Lisa and family,

    Remember the memories and keep them close to heart! Every now and then talk to him….he is always listening and watching over you.

    Nancy Fleming
    Cancer Survivor

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