Clara Pauline Russo, 83

A private family graveside service for Clara Pauline Russo, 83, of Gainesville, was held Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, in the Gainesville Cemetery with full military honors presented by Troy Herd American Legion Post 112 and an Air Force detail. Pastor Mason Eslinger  officiated. Mrs. Russo died Jan. 21 at her daughter’s home with her family by her side. 

She was born March 5, 1936, in Dante,Virginia, the daughter of Otis and Lake Lewis Casteel. She was raised in the Smokey Mountains of Virginia, and after her high school graduation she enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War. During her military service, she met her husband, John H. Russo, who was also serving in the Air Force. 

After being honorably discharged, the Russos started their family in Florida, where they owned a real estate development and construction company. Upon retirement, they moved to the Ozarks 30 years ago. 

Mrs. Russo was a Christian, and was raised in the Baptist faith. She enjoyed reading, Bible study and watching old western movies.

She is survived by her children, Robin Russo of Florida, John Otis Russo and wife Sherri of Gainesville, and Debra Dade and husband Dorian of Ava; four grandchildren, John Jeffrey and wife Danielle, Matthew Thomas and wife Cara, Jacob Otis, and Diana Nicole; one step-grandson, Michael Gonter and wife Julie; 10 great-grandchildren (the 10th one, Eden Hope Russo, was born Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Jan. 21, the day Mrs. Russo died, and the 11th great-grandchild, Arianna Alzina, is due in April); and her two siblings, Glen Casteel and Margaret Billmyer. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John Harry Russo, who died in 2000; her brother, Jim Casteel; and her sister, Jan Lambert.

Memorial contributions may be made to Ava VFW Post #5993 and the Troy Herd American Legion Post #112.  Online condolences may be expressed at

Services conducted by Clinkingbeard Funeral Home, Gainesville.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423