August (Gus) Angelo Rossi, age 89, of Painted Post NY, died on Saturday October 12th in Corning Hospital. Gus was born on February 18, 1930 in Scranton Pa. to Angelo and Carmella (Furello) Rossi.
Gus was a graduate of Scranton Tech HS in Scranton, Pa., attending school there from 1945-1948. Dad was an All Scholastic guard on the football team (at a robust 145 pounds) and played baseball with a couple of future major league baseball stars. He captained his baseball team and again earned All Scholastic honors. Upon graduation, Gus enrolled into the United States Navy and served for one year before receiving an honorable discharge in 1949. Dad then attended Mansfield University and often told his family he was proud of the fact that he was the first person from his "neighborhood" to attend college. At Mansfield Gus played 4 years of college football and again won accolades, earning the distinction of a spot on the little All American football team. Years later people in Mansfield would still talk about the hard hits this little guy would inflict on the opposition. It was here he met his wife of 67 years, Beverly (Rice) Rossi. Beverly was born in St. Marys, Pa., and Dad chased her for years until she finally said yes.
After receiving his bachelor's degree at Mansfield in history, Gus took his first teaching job at Savona HS in Savona, NY. While there he traveled on weekends to Alfred University to obtain his master's degree which was another big feather in his cap at the time. His teaching career was short lived as he transitioned into the position of guidance counselor at Painted Post HS. Here he served the students and school in Painted Post for 6 years, and when the Corning high schools opened in 1964 he applied for, and received, the Assistant Principal's position at Corning Painted Post West High School. He was infamous there for cutting the ties of the teachers who might have been wearing maroon (the color of that other school, haha) on the days of the East-West pep assemblies. Two years later he became the Principal at West High School and led the Vikings for 25 years. It was his pride and joy being the Principal at West and he forever had fond memories of his students and staff there!!
Dad LOVED his garden and yard work. He spent every available hour of his time on his property. It was therapeutic for him. He had a garden like the old Italians in Scranton and had dozens of tomato plants, varieties of onions, cucumbers, and his world famous Hungarian wax hot peppers. He and Beverly would spend countless hours picking, washing, and canning these tomatoes and peppers for family and friends. The last few years of his life he opened a vegetable stand in front of his house where he sold these garden goodies for ridiculously low prices. He just wanted everyone to enjoy them.
To understand Gus Rossi (outside of education) you needed to observe his fierce dedication to his children; especially grandchildren. Son, Bob pitched across the country, son, Jimmi performed around the world, and son, Tony played sports just about everywhere too. Dad seldom missed a game or performance. This would only prepare Dad for his next adventure in life with his grandchildren. These 5 young kids were his entire life. He adored them all and could be found at every single athletic event they participated in. Whether it was Buffalo, Rochester, or Florida, Dad could be found watching his favorite kids do their thing. He was never prouder of anything in his life than his grandchildren. When granddaughter, Lexi was sworn into the Sanford Florida Police Department, he was busting with joy. All Dad ever asked was for his family to stay close and support each other. He was la padrone and established the model for the rest of us to follow. If we become half the man he was then he will have accomplished his goals in life.
August Rossi is survived by his wife, Beverly; three sons: Bob (Rhonda) Rossi of Denver NC, Jim (Philip Cain) of Orlando FL, and Tony (Kim) Rossi of Sanford, FL; grandchildren: Brad (Lindsay ) Rossi of Jamestown, NC, Michael Rossi of Charlotte, NC, Nick Rossi of Denver, NC, Lexi Rossi of Sanford FL., Tony Rossi of Sanford, FL.; sister-in-law, Carlene Rossi of Painted Post; two great grandchildren, Addie and Beckett Rossi. Gus was preceded by two brothers, Rocco and Rocco.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, October 17th from 5 - 7 PM at Haughey Funeral Home, Inc., 216 E. First Street in Corning. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 AM on Friday, October 18th at St. Joseph’s Church, 8505 Main Street in Campbell, NY with Father Patrick Connor officiating. Burial will be in Coopers Plains Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choosing in Gus’ name.
Gus’ family entrusted his care to Haughey Funeral Home, Inc.