Joseph Charles Tusa (M.Ed. ’56)

Joe C. Tusa
Joseph Charles Tusa, son of Philip and Christine Tusa, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday, the 12th of May 2020. He was 93 years of age.
He is preceded in death by his son Joseph Charles Tusa, Jr.; sister, Rosie Ragusa and her husband, Jake; Josephine Tamborello and her husband Joe.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Ann; and his children, Philip Anthony and his wife Linda Bea, David Paul and his wife Leslie, and Therese Helen Tusa; daughters-in-law Robin, Jeannine Marie and Karolyn Kay Tusa; grandchildren Jeremy Matthew and his wife Ashley, Michael Joseph, Bethany Marie Stanley and her husband Trey, and Brian Charles Tusa and his wife Valerie; great-grandson, James Thomas Stanley.
Joe graduated from John H. Reagan High School in 1945. After high school he served in the US Navy during World War II. After the war he attended Rice University, Saint Mary’s Seminary and the University of Houston. He played football at both Rice and U of H and received his Bachelor of Science and Masters in Education from the University of Houston.
He began employment in the Houston Independent School District in 1953 and was assigned to Reagan High School. Joe was head coach at Reagan in 1958 & 1959. Both football teams went to the State Quarter Finals in Football. He was Assistant principal at Waltrip High School from 1960 through 1965.
He was named the Athletic Director for the Houston Independent School District and served from 1965 to 1989. During these years, he received many honors and awards including “National Athletic Director of the Year” and “President of the National Athletic Directors Association.” Joe was instrumental in formulating the Texas High School Athletic Directors Organization; President of the Houston Association of School Administrators; Honorary member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Service award from the Texas High School Coaches Association. While serving as Athletic Director, HISD teams won state championships in football, basketball, track, baseball, tennis and swimming. He held the position of Athletic Director longer than any other individual and was proud of his role in the integration of athletics and in the addition of girls’ sports. In November of 2012 he was honored by the Board of Education in the re-naming of the Delmar/Tusa Stadium Complex and in 2015 he was named the “Touchdowner of the Year” by the Houston Touchdown Club of Houston. He was also inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in Waco. On the 3rd of May 2014.
Joe was always very active in his parish church of Saint Theresa. He served on the Parish Council, Finance Committee and was president of the St. Theresa Thrift Shop Board. He also served as Lector, Greeter, Eucharistic Minister and served the homebound. Joe and Margaret co-chaired parish Bazaars and Auctions and were involved in the Annual Golf Tournaments which helped to fund the St. Theresa Community Center. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1953 serving in both the #2917 and #12866 Councils.
After his retirement from H.I.S.D., Joe and Margaret became very active in their Brangus cattle ranch in Leon County. Joe became president of the East Texas Brangus Breeders Association and the Texas Brangus Breeders Association and was a board member of the International Brangus Breeders Association.
His attendance at daily mass at Saint Theresa in Houston reflected the deep faith he lived.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o’clock in the afternoon until seven o’clock in the evening on Monday, the 18th of May, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, where a recitation of the Holy Rosary will commence at seven o’clock.
A Mass of Christian Burial is to be offered at nine o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 19th of May, at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 6622 Haskell Street in Houston, celebrated by Fr. Phil Lloyd. For those who are unable to attend, the church will be live-streaming the service which may be accessed at
The Rite of Committal will follow, via escorted cortège, at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery in Houston.
Please visit Mr. Tusa’s online memorial tribute at where memories and condolences may be shared electronically with his family.

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