Renee Russo devoted much of her time to helping the youth of Augusta.
"She'd been a teacher (for) Richmond County for 23 years," said her husband, Albert. She also "did work with the Y camps as a counselor."
Mrs. Russo, 45, died Sunday at her home. The funeral will be at 3:30 p.m. today at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Burial will be in Hillcrest Memorial Park.
An Augusta native, Mrs. Russo was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1979 and a master's degree in 1998.
Mrs. Russo began her teaching career in 1979 as a special-education teacher at A.R. Johnson Junior High School.
In 1980, she transferred to Lucy C. Laney High School.She moved to Westside High School in 1997 to work with special-needs students there.
"She was always a diligent teacher," her husband said. "(Since) she was a special-needs teacher, she had to work really close with the kids."
The hard work paid off for Mrs. Russo, who was given the Westside High School Teacher of the Year Award in 1999.
"She came into Westside and was a dynamo, and she really made a name for herself," friend and co-worker Rebecca Newhall said. "The teachers noticed her right away."
Mrs. Newhall is helping create the Renee Pool Russo Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will benefit junior and senior students at Augusta State University who are majoring in special education.
In addition to her career as a teacher, Mrs. Russo was the junior varsity cheerleading coach for two years and enjoyed going to Westside sporting events.
"We went to a lot of Westside ball games together," Mrs. Newhall said. "She was remarkable. She would cheer for anyone wearing red, white and blue."
Mrs. Russo also is survived by a son, Parker Russo; a daughter, Kelly Russo; her father, Dr. W.H. Pool; her mother-in-law, Mary Russo; three brothers, Gary Pool, David Pool and Brian Pool; and a sister, Winanne Sutherland.
Reach Amy Connell at (706) 823-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.