Florence Russo (nee Chiego), formerly of Montclair, passed away on Sunday, April 5, at Brookdale Senior Living in West Orange, just a week shy of her 101st birthday. 

Beloved wife of the late Rocco Russo of Nutley, Florence was born and raised in the old First Ward of Newark and was active in St. Lucy’s Church, from which her brother, Sebastian John Chiego, was ordained a priest and eventually served as pastor of the Church of the Assumption in Roselle Park. 

Florence was a graduate and enthusiastic alumna of Barringer High School, class of 1937.

She grew up in a large family of 10 brothers and sisters, of which she was the last surviving sibling. Her world revolved around her husband’s business in Newark, Robert Russo & Sons Beverages, which operated all over the city and Essex County. She moved to Montclair after her husband’s death and became active in St. Cassian R.C. Church as well as the Upper Montclair Women’s Club. 

Florence was a long-time resident of the Bellaire House condominiums, where she made many good friends over her last 25 years. She loved to sit by the pool and tell stories of her wonderful family and years in Newark and Nutley prior to settling in Montclair. Florence spent many summer vacations at the Jersey Shore in Monmouth County.

She was especially proud of her son Bob’s service as Montclair mayor, writing songs and poems for many candidates for local office over the years. She was also proud of her other children’s great accomplishments. Her positive attitude and great smile and voice were uplifting to all who knew her. She will be greatly missed.

Florence is survived by her sons, former Montclair mayor and current council member Bob and wife, Christine; Richard and wife, Nicole; and John and wife, Joanna; daughter Anne Marie and husband Theodore; grandchildren Stephen and husband, Andrew, Christopher and wife, Caroline, Michael and wife, Erin, and Jessica, plus many loving nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at a later date to celebrate her long and wonderful life. Caggiano Memorial Home of Montclair is handling arrangements. All services will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Florence Russo’s memory can be made to MESH (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless) Inc., PO Box 1919, Montclair, NJ 07042.