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Catherine Cecelia (Lambert) Russi

August 10, 1945 ~ August 10, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old


Catherine Cecelia (Lambert) Russi, “Cathy”, 78, of Colchester and formerly of Lebanon, widow of the late Francis “Fran” Russi, gained her wings and Heavenly reward on August 10, 2023.Born August 10, 1945 in Norwich, she was the only child of the late George and Cecelia (Fontaine) Lambert, Jr. Cathy was a 1963 graduate of Norwich Free Academy. Following her graduation, and while studying nursing, Cathy and Fran were married on May 8, 1965.  The couple settled in Lebanon, where they would raise their family. Together, they shared 41 years of marriage before he predeceased her all too soon on May 9, 2006. Cathy’s nursing career mainly involved working with the elderly, with a focus on Therapeutic Recreation, for which she earned her state certification. Serving the older population would actually become her life’s work, as in January of 1979, she became the first director of the Colchester Senior Center. Over her nearly 29-year tenure, and with the participation and support of both staff and seniors alike, the Center received numerous awards and accolades for programs they developed. The Intergenerational Program, which brought seniors and grade school students together in a truly unique way, was especially dynamic in the community. She and the Colchester Senior Center were recognized by the State for the “Most Outstanding Program in Connecticut”, were awarded the “Award for Excellence in Aging” in 2001 and was even highlighted in the Sunday edition of the New York Times in 1998. Her contributions and expertise in her field were also acknowledged by invitations to speak at three National Conferences on Aging about unique programs that were developed in Colchester. Cathy retired as director of the Colchester Senior Center in October of 2008. She then took on a part-time position with a program in Glastonbury known as “ENCORE”, which offered “Baby Boomers” various resources including life options planning, Civic Engagement, as well as lifelong learning, wellness and creativity. She also found a wonderful new home as a Hospice volunteer with the Expressive Arts for Children program. Cathy’s civic involvement started early on in life, actually while raising her two beloved children. She was very active with her daughter Michelle’s 4-H activities as well as her son, Thomas’s scouting and football ventures. She was integral in the creation of the Lebanon Cooperative Nursery School and served on the original Board of Directors. Retirement kept Cathy as busy as ever, simply allowing more time to volunteer her time and talents to the community-at-large. She was active with both the local and national chapters of AARP, the Lebanon Senior Center (where she was a member of the “Friends Committee”), and in Colchester - the Grange, Garden Club, Historical Society as well as the Community Theater. A woman of strong faith, Cathy was a longtime communicant of Guardian Angels Parish (St. Andrew Church, Colchester) and was active with the Ladies Guild. Helping the less fortunate was of particular importance to Cathy... She volunteered annually with the national “Make A Difference Day”, but more notably, could be found throughout the year advocating and collecting items and/or funds for any number of local non-profit charities, whether it be at a convalescent home or for the Haitian Health Foundation. None of these “accomplishments” could have been achieved without the love and support of SO, SO many! Without them, she would never have been named Colchester’s “Citizen of the Year”. It takes a village to do many things... and doing for OTHERS is what she did for herself... Believe it or not, FAMILY was still first and foremost on Cathy’s list of love and priority! She found her greatest joy in them, whether it be “tooling” around in one of the classic cars that she and Fran adored... sharing in their children’s achievements entering adulthood themselves... watching her grandchildren grow and flourish... to welcoming children of their own. The simple pleasures of life were all that were needed... a little gardening, crafting, painting and just being true and genuine meant a life well-lived for her. Thank you to ALL whom made that possible! Cathy and Fran were blessed with two children during their time together. Their daughter, Michelle Russi, survives them and lives in Colchester. Sadly, their son, Thomas Russi, passed away on July 4, 2002. However, he leaves as his legacy his wife, Terese Russi of Colchester; daughter and her family Rachel Karrar, her husband, Alex and their daughter, Eleanor, all of Richmond, VA; as well as Lauren Russi of Colchester; her dear lifelong friend, neighbor and confidant, Joyce Hastings of Crystal River, FL; as well as innumerable friends and colleagues. The family will receive guests on Tuesday August 15th from 5-7pm at the Aurora-McCarthy Funeral Home, 167 Old Hartford Road, Colchester. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated 10:30 AM Wednesday August 16th, 2023 at St. Andrew Church, 128 Norwich Avenue, Colchester. Following Mass, she will be laid to rest alongside Fran at the New St. Andrew Cemetery, Gillette’s Lane, Colchester. In lieu of flowers Cathy request you consider donations toward the following causes: Friends of Lebanon Senior Center- 22 Imogene Lane, Lebanon 06249, the Colchester Senior Center- 95 Norwich Ave, Colchester 06415, or the Haitian Health Foundation in effort to “Build Cathy’s House”- 97 Sherman Street, Norwich 06360 ( For online condolences, please visit

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August 15, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Aurora McCarthy Funeral Home
167 Old Hartford Road
Colchester, CT

Funeral Mass
August 16, 2023

10:30 AM
St. Andrew Church (Norwich Ave, Colchester)

August 16, 2023

New St. Andrew Cemetery
Gillettes Lane
Colchester, CT 06415


Lebanon Senior Center
37R West Town Street, Lebanon CT 06249

Colchester Senior Center
95 Norwich Ave., Colchester CT 06415
Tel: 1-860-537-3911

Haitian Health Foundation
97 Sherman Street, Norwich CT 06360
Tel: 1-860-886-4357


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