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GyBill 01-04-2008 04:28 PM

Joe N. "Mr Motor T" Tusa USMC (ret), 86, Vista, CA
VISTA - Joe N. Tusa passed away Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007, following a lengthy illness. He was born Oct. 5, 1921, in New Orleans, LA, the son of Anthony and Lena Tusa. He resided in the Oceanside/Vista area for the past 40 years. Mr. Tusa served in the US Marine Corps from 1939 to 1969. His time in service took him on a wide spectrum of assignments; from his capture by the Japanese on Wake Island and imprisonment through World War II, to the days of conflict in the Korean War, and two tours of duty in Vietnam, to more peaceful, but also challenging duties, as an advisor to the Haitian Army and subsequent assignments as Motor Transport Officer at Norfolk, Camp Lejeune, Okinawa, Camp Fuji, Twentynine Palms, Quantico, and Camp Pendleton. He became known as "Mr. Motor T". Beginning in 1971, Mr. Tusa served as Motor Transport Officer, in a civilian capacity, for 15 years. Through the Vietnam conflict and other periods of unrest, Camp Pendleton served as a critical base for training and staging the Fleet Marine Forces. The motor transport workforce faced many challenges during this time and performed admirably under Mr. Tusa's leadership. In 1986, following 45 years of government service, he elected to retire. Mr. Tusa is preceded in death by his first wife, Jean Dodd Tusa. They met while he was stationed in San Diego, CA, and were married from 1940 until her death in 1976. He is survived by his wife, Lillian (Lee) Gaines Tusa; they were married in Oceanside, CA on April 30, 1977. He is also survived by his son, Anthony Tusa of Carlsbad, CA; Betteann and her husband, Robert, Epler of Duncannon, PA; grandson, Ricky Ekkerberg of Escondido, CA; granddaughter, Kristina and her husband, Joby, Baker of Duncannon, PA; great-grandsons, Jordan and Kolby Baker; a step-son, Chuck Gaines and his wife, Melissa, of Oceanside, CA; step-daughters, Pamela Schwartz of San Clemente, CA; Regina Terry of Seattle, WA; and Cheryl and her husband, Craig, Robertson of San Diego, CA; step-grandsons, Bryan and Brendan Schwartz and Kyle Gaines; step-granddaughters, Heidi Schwartz, Korin Gaines, and Emma, Sally and Dorothy Robertson. Mr. Tusa was a member of the Oceanside Elks Lodge, No. 1561 for some 39 years. He also belonged to the USMC Motor Transport Association, the Marine Corps Mustang Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and American Ex-Prisoners of War, Inc. Mr. Tusa was an avid bowler and in past years enjoyed golf. He enjoyed watching sporting events, especially Padres baseball and Chargers football. A Celebration of Life will be held at Eternal Hills Mortuary, Oceanside, CA, Monday, Jan.7, 2008, at 1:00 p.m., with the Rev. Dale Jaggers of New Community Church of Vista officiating. The family invites attendees to a reception at the Oceanside Elks Lodge on Country Club Lane following the ceremony; maps will be provided. Cremains will be spread at sea off the coast of Oceanside at a later date. The family suggests memorial donations be made to Veteran's organizations or the charity of your choice. Sign the Guest Book online
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