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Todd A. Alessi


Russell—Todd Andrew Alessi, 62, of County Route 24, Russell, died on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.

A Celebration of Life, officiated by Rev. Joel Miller, will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Canton, followed by a potluck dinner.

Todd was born in Brooklyn, NY on July 13, 1951, to Andrew and Jessie (Rock) Alessi of Manchester, NJ. At the age of two weeks, Todd moved with his family to what his extended family considered the “wilds” of NJ where Todd grew up. In 1969, Todd graduated from high school in NJ.

On April 27, 1980, Todd married Nancy Peltan in a small church within Allaire State Park in NJ. Shortly after, the couple relocated to Russell, NY.

Todd was a well-respected and fine piano tuner who traveled throughout St. Lawrence County working for a number of families, churches, and schools. When professional pianists were to perform at local venues, Todd was often called upon to ensure pianos were in top condition as he was known to have an ear for exactly what each piano needed. His precision and attention to detail as a tuner followed him across his life.

Todd had a deep appreciation for silence and the beauty and peace of natural places. He was an exquisite vegetable gardener and a planter of trees. One of his greatest prides was joining a movement to restore the almost extinct American chestnut to North America. For 28 years, he nurtured two trees thought to be disease resistant and gave away many seedlings. In the summer, he would invite others to come to his home to see these beautiful trees in bloom. He was an enthusiastic bicyclist, hiker, and camper—even in winter in 30 below temperatures.

Todd was a resourceful tinkerer who could always find something on hand to solve a problem. He was always willing to lend a skilled hand to help others and was a person many called a good friend. for 28 years Also wonderful with children, he taught many to swim through the Red Cross program in Potsdam. Many of his friends’ children remember Todd fondly for the fun they had with him.

In addition to his parents in NJ, he is survived by his wife, Nancy; a brother, Timothy and his wife, Louise of NJ; a sister-in-law, Joanne Alessi of KY; three nieces and two nephews along with their children. He was predeceased by a brother, Bruce.

He was a member of the Piano Technicians Guild, the American Chestnut Society, and a number of environmental organizations. He was also a founding member of the Grateful Oars Rowing Club on Norwood Lake.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Potsdam Humane Society or the St. Lawrence County Land Trust.

Lawrence Funeral Home, Canton is handling arrangements. Condolences may be sent to his wife Nancy by visiting

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