WESTFIELD – Maria Russo Van Voorhis, 67, of Westfield, died September 19, 2019, surrounded by loved ones following a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
Born in Jersey City, NJ on January 12, 1952 to Carlo and Mary Russo, she graduated from Henry Snyder High School, Jersey City, NJ, in 1969, and earned a B.A. in Music from Dunbarton College, Washington, DC, in 1973. Following graduation, she thrived as a business development and large account representative at Diners Club International in Manhattan, where she handled such high-profile clients as Madison Square Garden and Windows on the World in the World Trade Center.
Maria married Phil Van Voorhis in 1980 and the newlyweds welcomed their only son Matthew later that year. After the family relocated to Westfield, MA in 1981, Maria earned a Master’s Degree and became certified in elementary and secondary education. She then began a quarter-century career teaching music in the Town of West Springfield, MA.
Maria’s family, friends, and many former students fondly recall her boundless energy and her light-hearted, irrepressible personality. She was a member of the Westfield Youth Football Board of Directors, an avid skier, and enjoyed frequent visits to the family camp in the Adirondacks. A rabid fan of her son’s athletic endeavors, she was twice nearly ejected from little league baseball games for refusing to put away her drums, cowbells, and bullhorn.
Maria is predeceased by her parents, Carlo and Mary (Schimenti) Russo, and siblings, Christine Pace and Charles Russo. She is survived by her beloved husband of 39 years, Phillip Van Voorhis of Westfield, MA; her cherished son Matthew Van Voorhis and his wife Katelin of Yonkers, NY; her dear friend of fifty years, Wendy Carnival of Chevy Chase, MD; her caring sisters Lucille Rontz of Manchester, NJ and Angela Crisalli of Brick, NJ.
Calling hours for Maria will be Friday, September 27 at 5pm followed by a 7pm Celebration of Life at Westfield Funeral Home, 4 Princeton Street, Westfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, September 28 at 11am at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, 127 Holyoke Road, Westfield. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Maria Russo Van Voorhis Memorial Fund through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: https://tinyurl.com/MRVVMSfund
To express condolences to the family or to share photos or memories, please visit Maria’s memorial page at www.westfieldfuneralhome.com