ASHTABULA — Russell Samuel Grippi, age 70, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at the Ashtabula County Medical Center Hospice Unit as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
He was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, on Nov. 29, 1942, the son of Joseph and Adeline (Giannell) Grippi. Russ grew up in Ashtabula with his sisters, Joyce and Frannie. One of his best childhood memories was at age five working in his parents’ grocery store on Harbor Avenue and going on deliveries with his father in “Joe’s Mobile Market”.
He served in the United States Army’s Third Armored Division, Frankfurt, Germany between 1962 and 1967 as the assistant to the division commander and received commendations for meritorious service and good conduct.
Russ graduated from St. John High School in 1960 and attended Kent State University and Cleveland State University prior to receiving a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in education administration from Lake Erie College. He worked at the Ashtabula County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (ACBMR/DD) as a program administrator and school principal and was part of the first team in Ohio to develop a curriculum for early childhood education. While working at the ACBMR/DD, he also achieved a dream of owning his own business, Grippi’s Pizza on State Road in Ashtabula Township, between 1978 and 1982.
He loved to play the trumpet and enjoyed 50’s and Gaither Gospel music and making CD’s to share with others. Russ enjoyed woodworking and making crafts for his friends and family. He had a passion for old cars, especially his “Lollipop Car,” which was a red Buick convertible he and his grandchildren loved to cruise in. In his retirement, he enjoyed being a snowbird wintering in Sebring, Fla.
Russ is survived by his children, Pamela (David) Rose of Conneaut Ohio, Kevin (Lisa) Grippi of Ashtabula, and Mark (Megan) Grippi of Aurora, Ohio; grandchildren, Madeline, Colin, and Andy; mother of his children, Patricia Grippi; sisters, Joyce (Fred) Thome and Frannie Grippi; step-daughters, Pamela (Paul) Cianci of Greenville, Pa. and Lori Berman of Chardon, Ohio; and step-son, David (Charlotte) Asuma of Erie, Pa.; his step-grandchildren, Danny (Jaime) Berman, Dillon Berman, Hannah Berman, Jimmy Ross, Jared Ross, Laura Ross, Nicole Cianci, Chelsie (Nathan) Ditz and Linnea Cianci; and great-grandchildren, Brynn, Madison and Chloe.