LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Augustine “Augie” DiRusso, 91, passed away peacefully Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Augie was born November 17, 1928 in Lowellville, the son of Achille and Adeline (Vespasian) DiRusso.
He was a 1946 graduate of Lowellville High School.
He served as a Sergeant in the Army Reserve and National Guard from 1947 – 1952 as line cook and butcher.
As a young boy, he worked in his father’s grocery store. In 1963, Augie started his concession business by selling DiRusso’s® Real Italian Sausage sandwiches at the Lowellville Mount Carmel Festival and the Canfield Fair. Augie’s mother, Adeline, would make fresh rope sausage at the family grocery store for Augie to sell at these events throughout northeast Ohio. Outside of the Youngstown area Italian sausage was not well known, so at these events Augie called his sandwich
the “Italian Hot Dog.”
In 1969, Augie founded the DiRusso’s Sausage Company, to supply the rapidly expanding concession business and to sell fresh Italian sausage to retail and foodservice customers. The business, located on Washington Street in Lowellville, Ohio, was a state inspected facility and could only sell to customers in Ohio. Augie began to produce portioned sausage links which replaced the rope sausages in the concession stands.
Starting in 1972, all products were freshly frozen to ensure product quality. DiRusso’s® Real Italian Sausage is now being sold at over 50 fairs and festivals and in many grocery stores in the Youngstown area.
In 1985, Augie moved DiRusso’s Sausage moved to a 10,000 square foot facility in Youngstown, Ohio in the Riverbend Business Park. DiRusso’s became a U.S.D.A inspected sausage manufacturer and hence, was able to sell to customers throughout the tri-state area. The new plant greatly increased DiRusso’s production and storage capacity and established a solid foundation for the future.
Upon Augie’s retirement in 1993, Robert DiRusso, Augie’s nephew, assumed ownership of the company. Augie moved to Florida that year and sold the DiRusso’s sausage at various festivals and flea markets in the Central Florida area. He then started a new concession at the Saturday Morning Flea market in St. Petersburg, Florida from 2005-2009 selling “Mot-za” pies, a corn and cheese-based snack, similar to the mexican/spanish arepa but instead filled with a variety of cheeses.
He was nominated concessionaire of the year in 2010 for the State of Ohio. His entrepreneurship has gainfully employed several families including 75% of the DiRusso family.
In addition to his widely known and successful entrepreneurship, Augie was a dedicated musician. He performed with several different musical organizations including but not limited to the Sammy Montain Dance Band at the Elms Ballroom, the Lowellville Mt. Carmel Band and the Youngstown Area Community Concert Band.
He was a member of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Lowellville and the Prince of Peace Parish in Sun City Center, Florida. He volunteered at the food pantry from 1999-2009 for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in Wimauma, Florida.
Besides his wife, Jean Elizabeth (Banjo) DiRusso, whom he married April 26, 1969; Augie will be remembered lovingly by his son, Patrick (Franny) DiRusso of Orlando, Florida and several nephews, Frank, Jr., Archie and Gregory DiRusso and David, Lawrence and Robert DiRusso.
Augie was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Frank and Lawrence DiRusso and his niece, Kathleen DiRusso.
Local arrangements have been entrusted to the professional care of the Rossi Bros. & Lellio Funeral Home, 4442 South Avenue in Boardman. Family and friends who cannot pay their respects at this moment because of the current pandemic are encouraged to offer prayers for the family and support via phone call, text, email or may visit the Book of Memories at www.rossifunerals.com to send condolences to Augie’s family.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Augustine “Augie” DiRusso, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
A television tribute will air Friday, August 7, at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.
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