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NOV. 18, 1924 -- APRIL 24, 2005

Joseph A. Russo of Williamsville, a World War II veteran and former Internal Revenue Service agent, died Sunday at home after a brief illness. He was 80.

Born and raised in Buffalo, Mr. Russo was a Williamsville resident since 1957. A graduate of McKinley High School, Bryant & Stratton Business Institute and Canisius College, he also attended Hofstra University.

Mr. Russo was an Army infantryman during World War II. He served in the Philippines and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

He was an IRS agent for 32 years, leaving in 1985. He received the Albert Gallatin Award, the highest career-service award given by the Treasury Department, the IRS' parent agency.

After leaving the IRS, he served as controller and financial officer for a franchisee of several Fantastic Sam shops in the area.

Mr. Russo was a member of the board of directors of the IRS Buffalo Federal Credit Union and a member of the 43rd Infantry Association, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

He enjoyed golfing and collecting miniature cars.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Joan Balbierz; two daughters, Kim Sutter of Jamestown and Jill Graney of Buffalo; two sons, Guy of Kansas City, Mo., and Todd of Clarence; a sister, Mary Ribaulo of the Town of Tonawanda; a brother, Salvatore of Amherst; and nine grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:45 a.m. Thursday in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Amherst. Burial will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.