Ben J. Russo

In loving memory of Ben J. Russo, aka "Benito," 87, who peacefully passed from this life surrounded by family on June 18, 2012.

Ben was born on Jan. 1, 1925, in Kenosha to the late Gennaro and Angelina (Arturi) Russo. He graduated from Kenosha High School in 1943 and later attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he met Doris Mae Schmitz. Ben and Doris were married in September 1950 and enjoyed a loving and happy life together until she passed in August of 1995. Since his wife’s passing, Ben spent his remaining years as the loving companion of Barbara Larson of West Bend.

During his career, Ben worked as a teacher and high school principal in Iron Mountain, Mich., Barrington, Ill., and various school districts in Wisconsin. Then he and his family moved to West Bend in 1968 where he was an active and dedicated member of the West Bend School District as well as the community.

Ben lived a full and vivid life and spent his retirement years enjoying time with family and friends both in West Bend and in his home in Gold Canyon, Ariz. During the day he could often be found hiking or horseback riding in the Superstition Mountains or tending to his garden and flowers at home. Nights would be spent at a local karaoke establishment entertaining patrons with his marvelous voice.

Ben was an adoring grandfather, and a loving and attentive father, husband, brother and friend. He will be remembered as a kind, gentle and fun-loving spirit who touched the lives of many.

Ben is survived by his daughter, Rachelle (William) Melms, Woodruff, son Benjamin Randal Russo, Highlands Ranch, Colo.; five grandchildren, Ricky, Brett, Natalie, Tom and Chris; brothers Ronald Russo, New Berlin, and Tony (Renee) Russell, Las Vegas; sister-in-law Lucille Romano, Reedsburg; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his loving companion, Barbara Larson, West Bend.

A memorial service is planned for June 28 at 4 p.m. at Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church in West Bend. Friends may visit with the family prior to the service beginning at 2:30 p.m. and a time of fellowship will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers memorials to a charity of choice. Online condolences may be left at