Avid gardener and seamstress who loved to travel

MELROSE — Anna Vincenza (Giannantonio) Russo, 89 of Melrose passed away peacefully in Danvers on Friday, May 10. 

Born in Malden on July 12, 1934, Anna was the daughter of the late Domenic Giannantonio and the late Agnes (Di Giambattista) Giannantonio. Anna grew up in Malden and graduated from Malden High School ‘52. Upon completing high school, Anna attended the New England School of Design followed by administrative roles at a small home building supply store located in Malden and at Monsanto Chemical Co. in Everett between 1956 and 1964. While working at Monsanto, Anna was the magazine covergirl of the Radio-Electronics, December 1964 issue representing her employer, Monsanto Chemical Co.  

In 1984 Anna re-entered the workforce after raising her three daughters as a full-time stay at home mom. Anna excelled and bloomed in her position as a Decorator Consultant at Sears Roebuck and Co. She enjoyed configuring the implementation of Sears model home show at the New England Home Show in Boston to include window treatments, furniture and accessories. Anna was responsible for marketing drapery products, developing new clients as well as demonstrating her creative skills by designing window treatments during in-home consultations. From 1992 to 1994 Anna was promoted to the role of Fine Jewelry Coordinator, Sales Commission Manager at Sears located in Saugus. In this role she coordinated customer service and complaint resolution as well managing sales staff associates within the department. It was easy to see Anna’s love of design, art and beautiful jewelry shining through her work and many years after she retired. She proudly wore bangled bracelets, necklaces, and a variety of watches to depict her travel, family and love of life as a mother, grandmother, sibling and friend. She was an adventurous spirit who never gave up the opportunity to travel and see new places. Anna and her mother took a month long cruise to Italy which she documented in her journal. She loved the pink sandy beaches of Bermuda so much, she went their twice with her husband Bob, first for their honeymoon and then to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. She loved the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where she fearlessly drove up the windy, cliff roads to the Continental Divide. She loved historic places and recently visited the Redwood Forest in CA, was enamored by the breathtaking views of Big Sur and the gorgeous Sarah Duke botanical gardens in NC. As an avid gardener herself, Anna could easily name many of the exotic plants and flowers. She also loved to be involved in her community and proudly volunteered at the voting polls. A talented seamstress and knitter, she made clothing from Halloween costumes to dresses for her children growing up and later, baby blankets for her grandchildren and others. And of course, her culinary and hosting talents were unsurpassed. She passed down her Italian roots from her mother, providing decades of homemade delights at her many social gatherings.

In January 1963 Anna married Robert A. Russo of Malden. They were married for 60 years. They have three children: Kimberly A. Russo of North Reading; Cristina M. Russo of Danvers; and Deborah J. Russo of Pasadena, CA. Anna was blessed with five loving grandchildren whom she adored with all her heart: Aidan and Jack Sullivan; Sarah and Jamie Royka; and Henry Frizzell. Anna had a loving relationship with her surviving younger sister Vera (Giannantonio) Arcieri of Milton and was preceded in death by her brother-in-law the late Dr. Alfred F. Arcieri. She is also survived by her three nephews: Dr. Michael Arcieri and his wife Marianne of Canton; Steven Arcieri and his wife Sheila of Milton; and Joel Arcieri of Milton. Anna was the caring sister to the late Donato (Danny) Giannantonio of Malden, and the late Edo Giannantonio of Malden. She is survived by her nieces Donna Giannantonio of North Reading; and Elaine (Giannantonio) Bowdridge and her husband Arthur of Wilmington; as well as four great-nieces, a great-nephew and their children. Anna is also survived by her nephew Domenic Giannantonio and his wife Pauline of Derry, NH.

Friends and relatives are invited to attend the interment ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 26 at Wyoming Cemetery, 205 Sylvan St., Melrose. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Anna Russo to support cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via dana-farber.org/gift. For online tribute, visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com.