SEARSMONT — Jane Elizabeth Russo of Searsmont, 90, passed away peacefully on Oct. 17, 2022.

Born in Salem, Mass., on Dec. 2, 1931, she was the fourth daughter of Henry and Pauline Grady. She attended schools in Salem and graduated from Salem High School in 1950. In 1954 she married the love of her life, John F. Russo, better known as Jack.

After a few stints in various places, they eventually settled in Camden in 1956 where together they raised five children, John, Paul, Steven, Andrew and Heidi. For many years Jane worked as a homemaker while also helping to manage the family business, Huston Tuttle Inc. in Rockland. After the business was sold, she worked at The End Shop in Camden, until she retired.

She and Jack moved from Camden to a home they built in Searsmont in 1984. That is where she spent the remainder of her days.

Perhaps Jane’s greatest life’s work was in support of her family. Even when distances were great, and life was busy, she made sure her children had memorable times with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins. Along with Jack, she and the family explored the islands of Penobscot Bay in the summer on the family boat.

She was well known for her willingness to open her home to friends and neighbors, cooking wonderful meals, and hosting fun parties including one birthday celebration when she borrowed every baking sheet on Trim Street so she could cook 20 pizzas.

This devotion eventually came to include grandchildren, of which she had eight. Over the years she hosted many dinners, sleepovers, Easter egg hunts, Fourth of July “Horrible” parades, poetry readings, birthday parties, and other special gatherings. She cared for sick grandchildren, transported them to and from school, and supported them in any way she could, which eventually came to include extending her love to their children.

Jane was extremely proud of her nine great-grandchildren and enjoyed every second she was able to spend with them. “Grandmama” loved sending them books, and other gifts and special treats, including her famous Chex Mix. During her later years she looked forward most to the summer weeks when all of the extended family could gather in one place and spend time together.

One of Jane’s passions was her longtime involvement with the Searsmont Town Library where she volunteered for many years, serving on the board of directors and organizing the annual book sale and silent auction to help raise funds. She was also involved with the Historical Society and in planning and fundraising efforts for the Searsmont Community Center.

Jane was predeceased by her husband Jack Russo, son John L. Russo and grandson Mikail R. Russo; her parents; and sisters Polly Cashman, Betty Doolin and Ann Kern.

She is survived by her three sons, Paul Russo and his wife Carolyn, Steven Russo and his wife Sandra, and Andrew Russo; her daughter Heidi Russo; and an “adopted” son, Aaron Nelson. She is also survived by seven grandchildren, John Russo and his wife Kara, Adrienne Ryan and her husband David, Keagan Russo and his wife Jessica, Karinna Allen and her husband Jonathan, Courtney Russo, Chelsea Russo and Sam Russo; two step-grandchildren, Taryn Murray and Kyle Bragg; as well as nine great-grandchildren, Brady Russo, Avery Russo, Amber Russo, Owen Russo, Sloane Russo, Jack Allen, Reese Russo, Flynn Allen and Lillian Steward. She is survived also by her sister Eileen Crosby.

A private burial will be held at East Searsmont Cemetery (Marriner’s). A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, Oct. 29, at Fōda Restaurant in Appleton at 2 p.m. If desired, memorial gifts in her name can be made to moneyathleticfoundation.org.

 

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