Visitors to the Russo home are enthusiastically greeted by Tasha, a Cairn terrier. Her owners Cat and Charles moved to the lake district full-time two years ago. They had vacationed on Fripp and Jekyll Islands, but found them too remote for year-round living. Cat was acquainted with Johns Island, having visited Kiawah as a child, so they started coming to Seabrook, escaping the northern Virginia winters, for increasingly longer stays.
Walking Tasha during one such visit, Cat asked another dog walker about houses for sale in the neighborhood. Mrs. Phillips said she was thinking of selling the home her husband had designed and built thirty years ago. When Charles and Cat toured the house with a realtor, an eagle landed on the osprey platform in the middle of the lagoon behind the house, a sign that this was their future home.
Charles claims ‘very western Long Island’—Brooklyn—as his stomping ground before joining the Air Force, serving as a cryptologist at various bases throughout the country.
After military service he joined the fledgling Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); his work there spanned all facets of their telecommunications systems.
Cat and Charles met at a tennis event and it must have been love/love for they’ve been married for twenty years creating a new family with their three sons and a Princess. Charles also shared his baseball passion with his bride when they honeymooned in Arizona just in time for spring training. He roots for the New York Yankees (a Brooklyn kid?!) and the Washington Nationals.
While Cat still plays tennis, Charles has switched to pickle ball and helped organize drop in play right here on Seabrook. He works out daily at the fitness center and can be seen cycling around the island. A modest guy, Charles doesn’t mention another hobby he has started and excels at. Cat directs attention to the garden window filled with orchids glorious in their second-year bloom. Charles assists Cat with her business of selling subsidiary rights for American publishers on the international market.
Joining the Seabrook Island Birders in its first year, Charles then served on the board in year two. He took on responsibility for SIB publication distribution and continues to restock the Amenity Office, Lake House, Real Estate Office, Town Hall and trail kiosks with brochures. He is also on the Blue Bird Trail Team, monitoring boxes on Crooked Oaks back nine. While living on Seabrook, his interest and knowledge in birds has expanded from the backyard to our shores and marshes. He’s among SIB’s valued ambassadors in our mission of education and preservation.
Submitted by: Donna Lawrence