Obituary for Vincent M. Russo, Jr.
NAHANT: Vincent M. Russo, Jr., 60, of Nahant, died peacefully October 19, 2017 at the North Shore Medical Center in Salem with his family at his side. He was a kind, compassionate and gentle man who dedicated his life to helping people, protecting and celebrating nature and bringing life to beautiful gardens.
The son of the late Judith H. (Delany) Russo and Vincent M. Russo, Sr. of Boynton Beach, FL, he is also survived by three sisters, Andrea Lordi and husband Richard Lordi of Fitchburg, MA, Ellen Boardman and husband Thomas Boardman Sr. of Townsend, MA and Joan Russo of Marlborough, MA; a brother Frederic “Ted” Russo of North Haledon, NJ; former partner and lifelong friend John Washek of Marblehead, MA; and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews and their families.
A former Acton resident and graduate of Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Vin earned a degree in Special Education from Fitchburg State College. He spent more than 25 years as a teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind, and before that, worked with developmentally challenged adults in group home settings. He loved his work and his students, and was dedicated to helping each one of them learn, grow and achieve their full potential.
He especially loved working with his students in the greenhouse and outdoors, teaching them how to plant and tend to vegetable and flower gardens, and passing on his respect and love for the natural world. Vin was an incredibly talented and masterful gardener. During his life, he planted many glorious gardens for himself and for his family and loved ones. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of plants, and was particularly fond of Native American species. He loved digging his hands into the soil during the warm months, and spent the winter months sketching ideas for new gardens with water colors, crayons and colored pencils.
In the last hard-fought days of his life, Vin planted an exquisite garden at his home in Nahant, using every ounce of his waning energy to bring forth beauty to the world. On his last day at home, he planted dozens of tulip bulbs which will burst into life next spring.
Vin was grounded in his appreciation for nature and the pleasures of simple things. He had no time or use for artifice or pretension. His fondest memories were of carefree summer days as a little boy in Scituate, playing from dawn to dusk in the tidal pools, collecting sea shells, watching the crabs scurry along, and basking in the warm sun. As a grown up, he scoured the beaches near his homes in Marblehead and Nahant for sea glass, and created beautiful art with his little treasures.
Vin had the most endearing silly side and crazy sense of humor. His favorite cultural icons included Gumby, Pokey and Porky Pig - and he imagined and brought to life his own universe of zany and endearing cartoon characters including Mr. Peppercorn, Ms. Creamsicle, Li'l Eva and the Click Boys. This magical universe made its way into cards, letters and birthday cakes that Vin lovingly made and shared with his friends and family.
All of us who knew Vin celebrate him for his gentle spirit, his wit and his beauty.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit Saturday October 28th, 2017 from 9:30am to 11:30am at the Acton Funeral Home, 470 Massachusetts Ave (Rte 111) Acton. A Life Celebration service will follow at 11:30am at the funeral home, with interment of the urn following in St. Bridget’s Cemetery, Great Rd (Rte 117) Maynard. Flowers are appreciated, or those who wish may make memorial contributions to benefit the Perkins School for the Blind, checks payable to Perkins Trust, 175 North Beacon Street, Watertown, MA 02472, or online at http://www.perkins.org/get-involved/donate Memorial page www.actonfuneralhome.com