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Wayne I will never forget what a great guy you are. What a light you are in a dark world. How you made me a better person for knowing you.. your friend Sue

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In Remembrance
Age:
37
Place of Residence:
Union, NJ
Location on 9/11:
One WTC
Occupation:
Marsh & McLennan | Accountant
Personal Memorial Website:
http://memorial.mmc.com/pgBio.asp?ID=236
Reflections:
The New York Times Portraits of Grief
Wayne A. Russo Memorial Fund
Biography:

One of the last things Arlene Russo remembers doing with her son was applauding the New York Yankees -- as usual.

Wayne Alan Russo took his family to Yankee Stadium in early September to celebrate his parents' birthdays. The Bronx Bombers defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-2, due largely to Tino Martinez's three-run shot in the sixth inning of the exciting game.

The home run spurred the Russo clan to chant "Tino!" over and over, along with thousands of others. Mr. Russo was dressed in full regalia.

"Here, Ma," Arlene Russo of Union, remembers him saying. "Take a picture of me with my Yankee shirt." She snapped the photo. It was the last one she ever took of her son.

Mr. Russo, 37, of Union, perished in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center three days later. An accountant for Marsh & McLennan, Mr. Russo had been in his office on the 98th floor of the South Tower when a hijacked airliner crashed into the building Sept. 11.

He had worked for Marsh & McLennan most of his career, having graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University in 1987.

"Everyone remembered him," said his father, Arthur Russo. "He was a gentleman and a gentle man, my son. He never had a harsh word for anyone. He was a man of honor, loyalty, commitment and integrity."

Mr. Russo's sister, Lynne Linale, also of Union, was heartbroken. She and her brother were very close, and she was planning on making him her baby's godfather. She is expecting her first child in December.

Mr. Russo also loved to travel and had just returned in late August from a trip to India. He'd also journeyed extensively in Europe, Russia, China, Japan and South America in his lifetime.

But his big love -- baseball -- started early.

"He was a heck of a player," Arthur Russo said. "He played Little League ball and eventually, as he was growing up, he got a black belt in karate. All of this very quiet and unassuming," he said.

But he loved his Yankees, especially the Red Sox rivalry, and often attended games at Fenway Park in Boston.

Profile by Debra Dowling published in THE STAR-LEDGER