The Comboni Missionaries honored Joseph A. Russo at their annual dinner dance on Nov. 30 at Manzo’s Banquets in Des Plaines. (708-354-1999)
As a boy growing up in Cicero, Russo enjoyed learning about his Italian and Calabrian heritage from his extended family. From those experiences, he decided he wanted to make a difference in the world. As a teenager, he found his calling in funeral directing and embalming.
Russo graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1991 and opened his own company, Russo Funeral Service, in 1995 at the age of 21. In 2012, he fulfilled a dream by opening his own funeral home, Russo’s Hillside Chapels.
Active in the community for decades, he served consecutive terms as the president of the Italian American Civic Organization of Berwyn as well as president of the Calabresi in America Organization, chairman for the CIAO St. Joseph Table for 20 years, and board member and treasurer of Casa Italia. He currently serve as the vice president of Società San Francesco di Paola, and as a board member for the Westchester Chamber of Commerce, Hillside-Berkley Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Funeral Director Association, IFDA Legislative Committee and National Funeral Directors Association.
“I am now honored to be the 53rd recipient of the Spirit of St. Daniel Comboni Award,” Russo says. “I could not have done all this without the support and love of my family and friends.”