ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. — Joseph Russo of Elmwood Park died after a long battle with cancer on Wednesday.
Russo is survived by his wife, Jill Connell-Russo, his three sons and one grandchild.
He was a beloved senior, head football coach for the Elmwood Park Bombers.
"For many, many years he was dedicated and active in EP youth football," The Bombers said.
" For those who knew Joe, they knew that football was his passion. It was always football talk when speaking with him.
"He took so much pride in teaching the kids how to play football. Today, we lost a great coach down here, but heaven has just gained one."
"I thank you for always being a father figure in my life," said Miranda Gibbs, who dated Russo's son for almost four years.
"I'll never forget the times when I'd be over laying down stairs on the floor typing up the book you wrote while you read it to me, or the times when you'd be cooking and make some concoction and say 'Mir, come here I need you to try this,' and every time I had no idea what I was eating but it was always delicious."
Russo's son, Joseph, said his dad was more than a father figure.
"This morning I lost my best friend, my hero and most importantly my father," Joseph said. "He loved everyone so much and was such a good-hearted person.
"Rest easy, dad."