Leonard Joseph Russo
Leonard Joseph Russo
L’amore è per sempre Love is forever
Leonard Joseph Russo passed away peacefully, March 4, 2023 at the age of 84 after a challenging battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his loving wife, RoseAnn and 4 children: Dominic (Pam), Jeffrey (Anthony), Carla (Jim) and Christine (Grady). He was the proud grandfather to Tori, Ali, Nic, Jack and Matthew. He is also survived by his sister Patricia and his brother Robert (Susan), and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
Born in Antioch, Ca he was raised in a true Italian family whose history was tied directly to Sicily. A third generation Italian, he loved the Italian culture, food and sharing stories of how his family arrived and made a life in America. He set a personal goal to make his family proud and strived to achieve the great American dream of owning his own business. That would eventually happen and it would come from working in the Insurance industry.
His interest in the insurance industry really began early on from his desire to help people. After a short service in the Army, which he loved, that interest put him on a career path of education and jobs that would eventually lead him to create his own family claims administration insurance business in 1973. This year his business celebrates its 50th anniversary. Today, his children continue to carry on his business legacy.
During his passionate pursuit to create a successful family business was also a personal motivation to explore the world. Multiple safaris to Africa and Alaska helped him to hone his love of animals and nature into a hobby of wildlife photography. His images were always meant to share a story, reveal a journey and capture the soul of his subject.
Leonard’s desire to see the world continued with him leaving his off-road safari jeeps to go touring in Europe with his wife. A major highlight was visiting the island of Sicily where both he and RoseAnn shared Italian roots. He also enjoyed the thrill of competitive sailing in San Francisco Bay on his sailboat named Double Expresso.
Leonard loved a good adventure and often to the same places. However, there was one place that he said “Once was enough!” His once-in-a-lifetime adventure was a guided month long expedition through the Himalayas to reach the base of Mt. Everest. He, along with his fellow trekker’s, finished at South Base Camp in Nepal which is at an impressive altitude of 17,598 feet. The goal was not to climb to the summit of Everest. Few ever do. Yet to be on Mt. Everest, with a peak at 29,029 feet must have been quite an inspiration!
His love of helping people, exploring the world, and talent as a wildlife photographer, made him a success in both his professional and personal life. What was his secret to achieving this? Two things come to mind:
Leonard never allowed a moment of unproductive rest to sneak into his day; and everyone who knew him knew that he squeezed every bit of life out of his 84 years. Only in Leonard’s mind, he was always 39. Maybe that helped too!
In honor of his and the family’s wishes, his funeral service will be held in private with only family present. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be sent to the following charities:
The Art for Life Foundation at artforlife.org
Doctors Without Borders at doctorswithoutborders.org