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Salvatore J. Russo, Beth Steel timekeeper

Salvatore J. Russo, a retired Bethlehem Steel timekeeper and World War II veteran, died of diabetic complications Sunday at Emeritus Senior Living in Towson. The Cockeysville resident was 94.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Florence and Antonio Russo, Italian immigrants who lived on Berger Avenue. After attending the Polytechnic Institute, he worked at the family's Belair Market fruit and produce business in Oldtown.

Family members said he was inducted into the Army in early 1941. He was initially stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va., and was later assigned to the 57th Engineer Combat Battalion. Shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, he was sent to Australia and was later stationed throughout the Pacific Theater during World War II. He fought at the Battle of Guadalcanal.

According to his discharge papers, Mr. Russo volunteered with three others to remove mines from a portion of Guadalcanal. Together, the four men cleared 225 mines. They were later awarded the Soldier's Medal, an award given by the U.S. Army for actions not directly related to combat situations.

According to the official commendation letter, the mines, which had been buried for some months, were dangerous. Mr. Russo was commended for locating the mines "without the mechanical means with which to locate them." The letter also said his actions "undoubtedly saved many lives" and that he continued to locate and clear mines until ordered to stop because of the mounting danger.

He left military service as a sergeant.

He then began a lengthy career at Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point. He was initially a timekeeper and later worked in the accounting department. He retired nearly 30 years ago.

In 1945, he married Norma Virginia House. They were married 67 years until her death last year.

Mr. Russo was an Orioles fan and enjoyed spending time with his grandsons.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

Survivors include his daughter, Judith Anne Conoscenti of Cockeysville; a sister, Emma Shaffer of Baltimore; two grandsons; and three great-granddaughters.

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