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Timothy John Russert

Tim Russert

Meet the Press

Requiescat in Pace

May 7, 1950 - June 13, 2008

Sister of Mercy, Sister Lucille Socciarelli, Tim Russert's seventh grade teacher at Saint Bonaventure Elementary School in Buffalo, New York, remembered Tim Russert at his memorial service at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. on June, 18, 2008

Good afternoon:

Timothy John Russert.  In all of my 55 years as a Sister of Mercy, Tim Russert stands head and shoulders above all the many students that I have been blessed to have taught.

In 1963, this 13-year-old entered my seventh grade classroom at Saint Bonaventure Elementary School.  I knew from Day One that Tim was especially gifted in many ways.  As the days progressed, I realized that Tim was intelligent, sharp, witty, a math whiz -  how well we know that! 

I tried zealously to convince him that diagramming English sentences would benefit him one day but to no avail. "How," he asked? "How would that happen?  Who and why would anyone ever ask me about a subject, predicate, and direct object?"

Tim possessed the ability to combine his love of learning with the love of sports making him a well-integrated student - every teacher's dream.

Each morning following a little three basketball game - you have to be from Buffalo to know this - Bonaventure, Canisius, and Niagara.  Tim was a Bonaventure fan.  I was a Niagara fan.  Every morning after one of these games, Tim and I called it a terrific game if our team won.  And I was no match for him when he rattled off all the stats right from his own head.  No notes in front of him. 

Oftentimes, before classes began in the morning, and sometimes during lunch hour, and even after school, the field or the empty lot right next to Saint Bonaventure's school was the official basketball, baseball, and hockey field.  "Go Sister!" he'd say. "Run!" Tim would shout urging me on.  Rosary beads flying, veil flying - in those days we had the complete habit.  Not only did Tim choose me for his team, he always picked the kid that he thought might not be chosen at all.

Come the Buffalo winters, Tim Russert's snowballs flew the highest and went the farthest.

Assigning Tim the editor of the school newspaper, The Bonnette, not only gave him means to channel his excessive energy, it also gave him the opportunity to develop his leadership skills as he organized his staff and worked with them to produce the best elementary school paper in the Diocese of Buffalo.

Tim also introduced the CYO, the Catholic Youth Organization, into the parish of Saint Bonaventure. He went on to become president of the diocesan chapter.

Because of his actions and service on behalf of others, Tim received the Monis Christi/ Hands of Christ Award.  It is the highest award in the CYO.

This Irish kid from South Buffalo; and I, a Mother Terenian Irish Daughter of Dubliner Catherine McCauley, the Founder of the Sisters of Mercy, shared a common bond.  Our love of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. We rang doorbells, made signs, stuffed envelopes. Those were the days when it felt that anything was possible. We worked hard, and we loved every single minute of it. 

In my mind and heart, ever since Friday, June 13, I hear God:

"Here's little Timmy Russert.  You're in heaven now, Tim, where every day is Meet the Press.  Welcome home."

1,000 attended Tim Russet's Memorial Mass at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, New York, on September 15, 2008.  "Tim would have liked this: The people, warm weather, sunshine - and the Buffalo Bills are winning right now," smiled Mercy Sister Lucille Socciarelli.

 

 

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