Remembering Louise Jean Hauser Russo: Educator and Philanthropist

Louise Hauser and Gwendoline Thornblade
Left to right: the late Louise Hauser with former ACMP Board Member Gwendoline Thornblade

ACMP is grateful to have received a generous bequest from the late Louise Jean Hauser Russo, who passed away on December 3, 2020 at the age of 99.

Louise was a close personal friend of former ACMP Board member and longtime Grants Committee Chair, Gwendoline Thornblade. Although Louise did not actively make music herself, she was an avid classical music lover and regularly attended chamber music events at Gwendoline’s home and beyond. (She and her husband George even traveled as far as Gargonza in Tuscany, Italy to join Gwendoline at a chamber music seminar! They truly enjoyed the proximity to such intimate music making and coaching.)

Born into a large Italian American family on February 3, 1921, Louise spent her entire life in Newton, Massachusetts (just outside Boston.) The youngest of six children, she grew up in a semi-rural environment where her family grew potatoes, corn and apples in a large garden and kept a cow in their garage.

After earning an Education degree from Framington State College in 1944, she embarked on a life-long career in early childhood education as an elementary school teacher in public and private schools, and later as an educational consultant. From 1965 through 2011, Louise served on the Board of the Newton Community Service Center (later renamed Family ACCESS of Newton), whose mission is to empower and strengthen families through programs that nurture child development, promote effective parenting skills and support working parents. She continued supporting Family ACCESS well beyond her forty-six years on the Board, contributing $100,000 to build a new Infant Child Care Room. 

Louise was happily married to George Hauser (1922 – 2012) for over 50 years. George fled the Nazis in his native Austria in 1939 for England and eventually the United States, where he was decorated for his service in the army during World War II. After the war, he worked as a neurochemical researcher at McClean Hospital in Belmont and eventually became a professor at Harvard Medical School.

With George, Louise developed a passion for travel. She made many trips to his birthplace in Vienna and was especially fond of Milan and Paris. In the 1960s she developed a love of visual art through her close personal friendship with the renowned German American artist Karl Drerup and his wife Gertrude. After Gertrude’s death in 1977, Louise took care of Karl and his artwork. Eventually, her house would become a private art gallery of Karl’s work.

Louise led a long, rich and generous life and her contribution will extend far beyond her death through the George and Louise Hauser Charitable Trust. All of us at ACMP mourn her passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to her friend Gwendoline Thornblade. In honor of Louise’s lifelong commitment to childhood education, we will use her gift towards grants specifically benefiting young chamber musicians in 2022.

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