Sally Rusaw

Obituary of Sally E. Rusaw

A funeral mass for Sally Ellen Rusaw will be offered at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 10:00AM. There will be no calling hours. Burial will be in the family plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Potsdam, NY. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Frary Funeral Home, Ogdensburg. Ms. Rusaw passed away on Thursday, October 31, 2019, at St. Joseph’s Home.

Sally was born in Potsdam, NY, on April 24, 1939, to Ralph Clinton and Marie Jenack Rusaw. She had two wonderful brothers, Clinton Paul and Anthony Ralph Rusaw. She received all her sacraments and grew up in the Catholic faith at St. Mary’s in Potsdam. Her early education was at the Condon Campus School and the Potsdam High School. She later earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, with permanent certification N-6 at SUNY Potsdam, and a Masters in Library Science from SUNY Albany. An NDEA grant permitted additional study at Syracuse University.

She is survived by her brother Anthony’s wife, Cecile, along with their family: Robert Rusaw, Lynn and Glenn Barse, and their descendants, Kaileigh, Noelle, Tyler, and Mercedes Barse, all of Massena, NY. Also, the family of her deceased brother, Clinton: Rowanda Pombrio, Angela (Anthony) Petersen and her family, Kevin, Matthew, and Shawn in Texas; Brian (Heather) and his family Zachery and Samuel, California; and Steven (Debra) and his family Adam and Chelsea, Texas; and numerous cousins from the Dodge, LaGraff, Jenack and Rusaw families. She was predeceased by her parents, her brothers, Clinton and Anthony, and a nephew, Paul.

At age 19, she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in Watertown, NY and during her twenty-five years with the Community, taught seventh and eighth grade in the Catholic schools of Morristown, Watertown, Carthage, Ticonderoga, Port Henry and Massena, before moving to Mater Dei College to serve as Librarian, and eventually Library Director, for twenty-five years. She served two terms on the Board of Northern New York Library Network [Previously the NC3R’s Council.] After the closing of Mater Dei College, she was privileged to join the library staff at Crumb Memorial Library, SUNY Potsdam, until her retirement (as emeritus) in 2004. In her retirement, she volunteered as an Archives Assistant at the Chancery of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg.

For twenty-three years she was volunteer in the Catholic Chaplain’s Office at the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and/or Riverview Correction Facility. She introduced the inmates to appropriate church music in both Spanish and English, and acted as leader of song, accompanying the congregation on guitar and keyboard. Among a variety of activities, she was God-mother at the Baptism of several inmates, and Confirmation sponsor for others.

As a member, and then chair, of the Education Council at Ogdensburg Catholic Central School, she proposed changing the name of the school to OCCS to St. Marguerite D’Youville Academy, bringing the school under example and patronage of the Canadian born woman, the founder of the Grey Nuns who have played such a major role in the development and the history of the City of Ogdensburg over the past 130 years.

A particularly valued activity was as catechist for the RCIA, a program designed to prepare adults to join (or return to) the church. She was a Eucharist Minister for several years, and a long time Lector at Mass. In 2003, Bishop Cunningham commissioned her as a Lay Minister.

Sally enjoyed reading and various activities with her brothers’ families. Her travels included hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Indian Art Fair in New Mexico, and whale watching at Tadusass, Quebec.

Those who so wish are invited to make donations to the Bishop’s Annual Fund, Diocese of Ogdensburg, PO BOX 369, Ogdensburg, NY 13669 or to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 1425 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601 or to St. Mary’s Cathedral, 124 Ford Ave, Ogdensburg, NY 13669.

Online condolences may be made in Sally’s memory at

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Funeral Service

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, November 2, 2019
St. Mary's Cathedral
415 Hamilton St.
Ogdensburg, New York, United States
(315) 393-3930
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