Vincent Peter Russo, surgeon and artist, passed away Thursday, April 14, 2016, at the age of 90.
A long-time Fountain Hills resident, he was born Jan. 30, 1926, in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Ciro and Maria Grazia Russo, joining sister Rose and brother Carmine.
At the young age of 16, Vincent entered Columbia College, class of 1944, and met the love of his life on the subway, Vera Ippolito, a beautiful violinist attending the High School of Music and Art.
Pearl Harbor changed everything and, in 1941 as a first generation American, he enlisted in the Navy and completed his pre-med education at Hobart & William Smith and later the University of Rochester. A member of the Columbia track team, he played football at Rochester.
Vincent married Vera Dec. 8, 1945, while attending the Long Island School of Medicine. After graduation, he interned at the U.S. Naval Hospital at St. Albans, N.Y., and started a general practice in Fonda, N.Y. from 1949 to 1951, and a family.
Called to active duty, Dr. Russo was ship’s physician during the Korean War, then returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to complete his term of service in 1954.
He then was able to resume his Fonda practice, deciding to start an orthopedic residency. While at St. Charles Children’s Hospital, Maimonides Hospital and Kings County Hospital, he and his colleagues achieved great surgical advances in the treatment of deformities caused by the Polio epidemic.
Vin and Vera then took their now five children upstate to Poughkeepsie, where he had a thriving practice, including becoming one of the first physicians to perform total hip replacement surgery.
In 1979, they moved to the fledgling community of Fountain Hills, where he started the orthopedic department specializing in total joint replacements and served as the Chief of the Residency Program at the Phoenix VA Hospital. He then entered private practice with his son in 1985. Dr. Russo continued to serve as medical consultant for the Social Security Administration in Phoenix until 2013.
All five grown children and families had moved to Arizona to join their parents and share this joyous life together.
Vincent lost his beloved wife Vera in 1997, and despite the heartache managed to continue on an extraordinary path including serving the medical needs in Africa as well as other travel for enrichment and exploration.
His daily quest for knowledge was seen in his passion for painting and sculpture, music and all things historical while inspiring his ever-growing family.
Survivors include Dr. Vincent and Janie Russo of Paradise Valley, Rina and Ken Creta, Val Stasik and Randy Beard, Ginny and Jim Dickey, and Vanessa and Dan Davisson, all of Fountain Hills, plus 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Join us for a celebration of life 10 a.m. Friday April 22, at Messinger Fountain Hills, 12065 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268, 480-837-5588, messingermortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Fountain Hills Theater, PO Box 18312, Fountain Hills, AZ 85269 (fhtaz.org) or to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014-5656 (hov.org)