“So many adventures couldn’t happen today/So many songs we forgot to play/So many dreams swinging out of the blue/Oh let them come true/Forever young/I want to be forever young/Do you really want to live forever/Forever, and ever...”
Tony was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 17, 1965 to Anthony James Russo I and Joyce Van Ausdal. He passed away on May 12, 2019 after a long struggle with addiction and mental health conditions. He grew up in a large family and was raised by a village of people who loved him dearly. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes and Judge Memorial Catholic Schools. He graduated from Granger High School. He attended Salt Lake Community College for a period of time before dedicating much of his life to volunteering for various organizations. He was passionate about contributing to the LGBTQ+ community. He held various positions in the The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire, the oldest LGBTQ+ Organization in Utah.
He wrote in his last wishes, “I was a good man who loved life, but didn't always know how to live it. I tried to be a selfless man who just wanted to make people laugh and make a difference in the world.” He did just that.
He loved working with his hands; whether it be building intricate parade floats, remodeling houses for his family and friends, or collecting and repairing broken furniture and appliances for people in need. He enjoyed traveling. He was adventurous, courageous, empathetic, creative, meticulous, and pure at heart. He was no stranger to anyone. He brought laughter to everyone with his powerful voice and boisterous personality. He felt one of his biggest accomplishments in life was being “Uncle Tony.” Tony was recently able to fulfill a long time goal of skydiving and did so fearlessly.
Tony was preceded in death by his grandfather and grandmother, Alfonso “Jim” and Mildred “Millie” Russo. His father, Anthony “Big Tony” and step-mother, Marie Russo. His beloved siblings Tammy and Louie. His uncles: John, David, and Michael Russo, and his aunt Jacqueline “Jackie” Russo-Martinez.
He is survived by his sisters: Debbie (Gene) Russo-Evans, Kristine (Jason) Russo-Teeguarden, and Michelle Russo. His aunts: Susie Russo-Beynon and Susan Russo-Smith. Many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and his best friend of over 35 years, Kent Larson.
We will all cherish the memories too numerous to count and find comfort in knowing you are free. You now have a resting place where you belong. You are now truly—forever young.
A graveside service will take place at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 275 U Street in Salt Lake City on June 7th at 2:00 PM with a Wake to follow at the Ben G. Russo Post, 2920 S. Highland Drive in Salt Lake City, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Tony’s name at the following link: