Russo family matriarch Rose Russo with her husband Harry.
Russo family matriarch Rose Russo with her husband Harry. Contributed

Love of family was always in her heart

THE prominent Russo family in the Isis area has lost its matriarch after the recent death of Rose Russo.

Her son John said Mrs Russo was born on May 16, 1927, the daughter of Giovanni and Santina Torrisi - a cane farming family in Innisfail.

She was one of three children, with an older brother, Sam, and a younger sibling, John.

"Mum excelled in writing and one of her significant academic achievements was her first prize in creative writing in a local radio competition," Mr Russo said. "Later in life, without any formal education in the Italian language, Mum taught herself to read and write Italian fluently - a skill she maintained throughout her life."

Mr Russo said a combination of Mrs Russo's ill health and marginal farming had forced the family to move to the Kepnock area.

"At the tender age of 13 Mum had to leave school to care for her ailing mother as well as her father and two brothers," he said. Later she met her future husband, Harry, and the couple married at the Holy Rosary Church on June 7, 1947. They went on to have nine children.

"When mum was aged only 22, her own mother died suddenly at the age of 45," Mr Russo said. "Mum's life then took another change as she became the primary carer of her father."

Mr Russo said as the family grew it became necessary for his father to expand his farming business.

"Starting with the acquisition of his father's farm, Mum and Dad bought additional farms mostly in partnership with their sons," he said.

His mother's unconditional love was the fabric that held the family together.

"Her overwhelming desire to be around family led her to overcome one of her greatest fears - that of flying," he said. "Mum made several trips to Sydney and Brisbane."

In 2003, Harry Russo died and three years later Mrs Russo moved into Forest View Hostel.

Mrs Russo died on December 5 at the age of 85.



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