World War II veteran, retired CPD officer Russell Ditusa dies from coronavirus at 97

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Russell Ditusa, a World War II veteran and long-time Chicago police officer, died from COVID-19 at the age of 97, his family said.

"He just took care of people. He lived the right way. He raised his kids the right way," said Nick Ditusa, son.

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Russell died from COVID-19 this week. His wife Rosalie is in the hospital, but not showing any symptoms. They celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary in April.

"We understand that could change, that's the terrifying thing here, we could lose both of them in a short time," Nick said.

How the Ditusas got the virus is a mystery. They hadn't left their nursing home condo in seven weeks.

"They were on lockdown. So when he had this accident and his positive test came up, it was obviously a shock to all of us," his son said.

Russell Ditusa served in World War II, was a AAA baseball player, and a long-time Chicago cop. He joined the Chicago Police Department in the early 1950s.

"He was a detective for the majority of his years," Nick said. "He worked out of the old Maxwell Street station, you know, where they filmed 'Hill Street Blues.'"

The Ditusas are now worried about their mom, who is nearly 92.

"Watching this stuff on the news for months but, boy, when it hits, when it its home as this is, it's a whole different perspective on this thing," Nick said. "We watched it wipe him out in less than three days."

Nick and other family members followed in his father's footsteps, becoming Chicago police officers as well. They said he served as an example for the entire family.
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