Russell Preno, Jr.

Russell P. Preno Jr. of Scranton and Naples, FL died Monday morning at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Debbie Stanko Preno and his son, Russell P. Preno III.

Born in Scranton on January 2, 1943, son of the late Russell and Margaret Creedon Preno, he graduated from Central High School and The University of Scranton, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business.    He was a member of Immaculate Conception Church.

Preno’s Restaurant on Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton is where the culinary skills of Chef Russell Preno Jr. originated.  At a very young age he began his career in the art of preparing fine food at his family’s owned and operated restaurant.

In 1986 he and his wife, Debbie, opened Russell’s Restaurant on Ash Street, where the fourth generation Preno tradition continues.

Russell’s love and passion not only included preparing fine food, but also had a special way of making his customers feel welcomed and part of the family. It made him proud to share his knowledge and skills with his son, Russell III, who continues his legacy.

Big Russ will be remembered for his love of life, family and friends and his willingness to put others needs ahead of his own.

He is survived by his son Russell III and fiancée Laurie Donovan, brother Thomas and companion Marilyn Griffiths, sister Mary Jo Yanusauskas and fiancé Jeff Zehner; godson and nephew Mark Stanco; niece Lori Goetz; godson Tony DiLeo.

He was preceded in death by his sister Peggy Preno and an infant brother, Michael.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday at 10am in the Immaculate Conception Church 801 Taylor Ave. Scranton by Rev. Joseph Sica.

Friends may call Thursday from 3-8pm in the Vanston and James Funeral Home 1401 Ash St. Scranton.

Interment, St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow.

In lieu of flowers the family encourages memorial contributions be made to Clearbrook Foundation Fund, 37 N. River Street, Suite 101, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

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  1. Bill

    I am so sorry for the passing of Russell as he was a superior Chef and his food served was appreciated by my wife and I. He, and Debbie, always made us feel welcome when we went to Russell’s for a special meal. Again for the family, I am sorry for Russell’s passing.

  2. Lenora Delvecchio

    To live a life filled with love and laughter,what more can there be. The outpouring of emotion from his many friends is testimony to this. I will miss him very much.

  3. Louis J. Genovese

    To the Preno Family my condolences go out to all of you during this vey sad time. I met Big Russell in 1974 when I worked at Attilios and spent my lunch and dinner hours at Preno’s. I will never forget Russell when my brother died he came to our house with enough food to fee and entire family for two days. He will be greatly missed with great memories.

    Best Wishes and God Bless

    Louis J. Genovese & Family

  4. Mary (Seber) Borgia

    Debbie, I’m so, so very sorry to hear about Russell. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Russell Jr. I can still remember your first date and your wedding when we worked together at Franklin’s Restaurant. (He was the love of your life.) My deepest condolences. May God Bless You and Watch Over You. Lots of Love, Mary

  5. Rich and Joyce Revta

    Debbie, Russell Jr. , Mary Jo and the rest of the Preno family
    It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Russell. Our thoughts and Prayers and sympathies are with you all. God Bless you all and may Russell rest in peace. Amen.

  6. Gina Douaihy

    Debbie and Russ I am so sorry for your loss. Big Russ was a great man who will be missed by everyone who has ever been near him. Deepest sympathies for the whole family.

  7. Barbara Rosetti

    Dear Debbie and Family,

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Russell was a great guy and appreciated when he came to my Dad’s viewing (Rudy Rosetti). May all the great memories you have give you comfort…I’m sure a smile will always come when you remember him…I know it will to me.


    Barbara Rosetti

  8. Wendy Worobey

    I have not been able to stop thinking about Russell’s passing since I first heard. There are certain people that affect your life in such a positive way and Russell was one of them. I have never seen him without a smile on his face or when he wasn’t trying to make someone else happy. He will forever be missed. My sympathies go out to his family.

  9. Bob Ballot

    Debbie, Russell III, and family— How much I admired Russell, a terrific person— who carried on the wonderful tradition, friendship and caring of his graddad, mother, Peg, dad, Russell.

    May these great memories of Russell Jr. bring strength to his family.

    With warm caring—Bob Ballot

  10. John & Marianne (McLane) Gambucci


    We were so sorry to hear of Russell’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. May your memories bring you comfort in the days ahead. He will surely be missed by many.

    Marianne & John Gambucci

  11. karen harper foley

    To the family–I am so sorry to have missed the funeral. I have a damaged ankle and I cannot get around to good–I have many fond memories of Russell at the Chapel school on Taylor Ave.–no one can take away our good memories–I will keep you all in my prayers this week and into the future–that is what I do well. Peace of God go with you.

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