Nancy Kraffert Russo
Nancy Kraffert Russo, 87, of Janesville, Wis., died Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at Penick Village, in Southern Pines, surrounded by loved ones after a courageous struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
Mrs. Russo was born Sept. 9, 1925, in Titusville, Pa., the daughter of Benjamin and Florence Kraffert, residents of Titusville and Pinehurst.
She was a graduate of Foxhollow School, class of 1943, and received a BS in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College in 1947.
Nancy was known for her sparkling blue eyes and ready smile. She lived life with gusto. Whether it was traveling the Alaskan waterways or Galapagos Islands with her grandchildren, swimming with the dolphins in Bermuda with her beloved Frank, or hopping on a sulky, reins in hand, to drive a trotter once around the race track, her natural response was “yes” to life’s adventures. A champion on the golf course, she was also a champion in life.
Her generosity was large and her compassion even bigger. She served her communities with passion, focus and was unmatched in completing a task proficiently and with grace. Besides honing her golf skills, she was keen at tennis, curling and downhill skiing.
Nancy was an avid naturalist. She loved birds, gardening, flora and fauna, and paid attention to their details. And she loved to feed people well. She was as adventurous in the kitchen as she was in her travels. It was always a treat to sit at her dinner table.
Nancy was also a natural teacher, happy to share all she knew about all she loved: knitting, cooking, golf, needlepoint, gardening. Her tips and patience helped others find their way.
Although Nancy was accepted into the University of Virginia Medical School, she opted instead to support her husband as physician and raised five children — more than a full-time job. Her roles in that endeavor were endless. She loved her friends and they loved her. Nancy lived her life joyfully, giving to all she loved. She will be dearly missed by those fortunate to be graced by her gifts.
Nancy leaves a long legacy of accomplishments and community participation. She was a member of the National Society of Colonial Dames, the Junior League and the Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as a 20-year board member of the former Rock County Red Cross and was an originator of the local blood donation program.
She was a founder and board member of the early Rock County Historical Society and championed the move and restoration of the Little Stone House on the Tallman House grounds. She taught literacy as part of the Laubach Literacy group, helping others learn to read English as a second language. She also volunteered her services as a certified tax preparer assistant.
Nancy was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Janesville, where she served as board member and chaired the Trinity Women’s Guild.
Nancy was known for her avid sportsmanship. She was inducted to the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. She held the Janesville Women’s City Golf Championship three years and was 11 times Women’s Golf Champion at the Janesville Country Club.
She was active in the Women’s Western Golf Association, serving as president and chairman, was a member of the United States Senior Women’s Golf Association, and also participated in the Wisconsin Women’s Golf Association as president and was a three-time state medalist. She also was a member of the Silver Foils women’s golf group in Pinehurst, where she won several tournaments. She won the Janesville city mixed-double tennis championship with her son as partner. She also was president and a founding member of the Janesville Curling Club.
Nancy was predeceased by her brother, Richard Kraffert; her cousin John Henne; and parents, Benjamin and Florence Kraffert. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Francis. R. Russo, M.D.; and her five children, Christiana Russo Maxwell (husband, Richard), F. Robert Russo Jr., Richard Kraffert Russo (wife, Kathy), Thomas Adrian Russo (wife, Gina), and Anne Russo Goodwin (husband, Matthew); and seven grandchildren, Christopher Russo, Richard Russo Jr., Michael Russo, Meredith Russo, Erin Russo, Robert Goodwin and Benjamin Goodwin. Also remaining are her sister-in-law Matilda Russo; and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at the Penick Village chapel, in Southern Pines. A memorial service in Janesville will take place in early spring. Details will follow.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations be made in her name to the American Red Cross Badger Chapter (Janesville, Wis.) or the American Red Cross, Moore County Chapter (Pinehurst).
Online condolences may be made at www.PinesFunerals.com.
Powell Funeral Home of Southern Pines is assisting the family.