Coronavirus Memoriam: Beloved Grandmother Else Hess And Special Olympics Champ, Chef Kris Russo

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – CBS2 is continuing our series honoring the people we’ve lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge looks back at the lives of a son and a grandmother who meant the world to their families and will never be forgotten.

Else Hess

Else Hess was three pounds when she was born in 1933, minutes after her twin brother.

She was a beautician, the queen from Ridgewood, Queens.

It was love at first sight when she met her husband George at 19. He was in the Air Force. They were inseparable.

They had a two sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren. Family was her world.

When Else was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her husband, a retired NYPD officer, never left her side and made sure her hair and nails were still perfect.

On March 25, Else’s nursing home was locked down. A week later, she tested positive for COVID-19.

Her husband was allowed one visit with his wife of 65 years.

It was their last.

She passed on April 8. Her husband still has their decades-old love letters.

Else never got to meet her first great-grandchild, who was born small but mighty, just like her.

Kris Russo

Friday, May 22, would have been Kris Russo’s 46th birthday.

He was just 10 days old when his mother, Teri, adopted him. He followed her like a shadow.

Kris had three adopted brothers, all with Down syndrome, just like him.

He had a quick wit and a big smile.

Kris was in the Special Olympics — a power lifter.

He loved to cook. Working in a restaurant, he made everything from cheesecake to pasta.

He was planning his mother’s birthday when he got sick, diagnosed with COVID-19.

Instead of celebrating her party, Kris was buried in his favorite chef’s coat on his mother’s 80th birthday.

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