Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors

1010 Bering Drive, Houston, TX


Joe C. Tusa

May 10, 1927May 12, 2020

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.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will then commence at seven o'clock and will be streamed on Facebook Live at the following link:


To join, simply select the "Discussion" tab on the event at scheduled start time.

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 https://sttheresa.cc/funerals.

The Rite of Committal will follow, via escorted cortège, at Earthman Resthaven Cemetery in Houston.


  • Visitation with the Family

    Monday, May 18, 2020

  • Recitation of the Holy Rosary

    Monday, May 18, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial and Rite of Committal

    Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Joe C. Tusa

have a memory or condolence to add?

Timothy Schaller

May 27, 2020

Joe was more active in the Church than I knew when we were involved with the Knights of Columbus at St. Theresa Catholic Church. I was very active with the Knights for several years about ten years ago, but then moved out of the parish and disengaged from the activities and meetings. I still observed the Council from afar and I recall one instance where Joe sent a message to me that I was missed (from being present) at the meetings. It meant a lot to me that he sent that message and I also observed on several instances that he was a great and principled man. That says it all for a life well lived. Thanks. Tim Schaller.

Gene & Jeannie Juergens

May 25, 2020

I do not recall the date I was last in touch with Joe, it was probably in the 1980’s. I did business with the Athletic Department at Houston ISD. I also worked with Jim Ashmore and Roger Rideau. Joe was a very kind and caring person a great Gentleman.

I do not recall how the subject of honey came up in our conversation, unless perhaps I had brought a small jar of honey to him, as I did occasionally for my clients. Anyway, Joe asked if he could purchase a Beehive from me as his wife had purchased all the gear necessary to manage a Beehive.

He came by one evening and we loaded a Beehive into the back of his pickup. He sounded so excited about getting this for his wife!

Gene & Jeannie Juergens

Richard Meek

May 21, 2020

To the Tusa Family. I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Tusa's passing. I worked as an assistance in his office in 1964 and 1965. He and my mother were friends at Reagan HS. I had the opportunity to get to know him as an adult at multiple reunions and had the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch with him several times. He was a first class man and gentleman. He will be greatly missed by friends and family. I am a very lucky person to have crossed paths with Joe Tusa multiple times in my life. May he rest in peace. My sympathy to Mrs. Tusa and the entire family. I hope you are safe and well in this very difficult time.
Richard Meek

Joyce Barta Bayersdorfer

May 19, 2020

Have fond memories of Mr. Tusa as a great Asst Principal at Waltrip. Well respected and admired by all. Joyce Barta Bayersdorfer, Waltrip '65.

Elizabeth Detweiler (Canizales)

May 19, 2020

Mrs. Tusa and family,

The funeral mass was beautiful. In the 20 years that our family has been at St. Theresa's, Mr. Tusa has always been a kind, strong, and reassuring presence. It's hard to imagine not seeing him in the front pews. He was a community elder who touched all of us, even those of us who did not know him very well, and his life is a model for all of us. We are grateful to have crossed his path.

Our deepest condolences to all of you,
The Canizales Family
Guillermo, Elizabeth, Anna and Pablo

Yolande Lezine

May 18, 2020

Words cannot explain the hurt in my heart upon hearing the news of Mr. Joe C. Tusa's passing. He was a great man, whom I had the privilege to call "Dad"! He helped me get a job in the Houston Independent School District, while I continued to work towards completing my college degree. I was the Sports Editor at the Houston Defender Newspaper at the time that we met.
Even though he was the Athletic Director of one of the largest school districts in the country, he was always very kind. He had an open door policy at his office. I am so grateful to God for allowing our paths to cross. He and his wife Margaret had a major impact in my career! Both in Education and as a Professional Journalist.
I called Mr. Tusa "Dad" for the following reasons:
* He saw potential in me, that I never saw in myself.
* He and Margaret pushed me to be the best at all times.
* I always could go and visit him in his office.
* Enjoyed all of Margaret's home cooked private dinners while in college.
* His support of me went beyond me being a sportswriter. He was always concerned about me as a person.
* When I received college awards he was there.
* When I graduated from college, he was there.
* And he and Margaret celebrated my accomplishment, at a college graduation party held in my honor.
I always made sure that I let him know how much I appreciated him. And when he retired I presented him with a scrapbook that chronicled his entire career. I love you Dad! ❤ May you Rest In Peace 🙏🙏

Susan Telotta Ulrich

May 18, 2020

Dear Mrs. Tusa,
Along with so many others, allow me to offer my sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss. Although I did not know Mr. Tusa, I did know you and by all indications, The Lord blessed two very special and deserving people with a union that not many enjoy. I want you to know that you have always held a very special place in my heart and although time and distance has separated us, memory has kept you only a heartbeat away all these many years. I will be attending the online service tomorrow, from Colorado, where I have lived for the last 36 years. You always have been and will remain in my prayers.
With love,
Susan Telotta Ulrich

Catherine Burton

May 18, 2020

Rest-In-Peace Superman,

Thanks for all the Memories, Les and I shared of the Good Times with you and Wonder Woman.
Catherine Burton

Gloria Vocelka

May 18, 2020

To all the Tusa Family,
I have so many memories of Joe. first from when I was about 6 or 7 years old and he taught me to swim at (then)Washington Jr High pool. Then our paths crossed again when I was an adult, at St Theresa Catholic Church, where we served on several committees. I will remember Joe as one of the most congenial persons I have ever met. He had a smile that always made you feel special and always listened intently to what you had to say. I send my sympathies to the family and pray you feel the comforting arms of the Risen Christ surrounding you, during the difficult time. May Joe RIP, he has earned it.
Gloria Vocelka

Rocky Manuel

May 18, 2020

Thank you Joe for all your guidance and help. With Jim Ashmore, Billy Daniels, and Tom Barnes, you guys were awesome to the young coaches. Personally, thank you for everything you did for me and helping me get started at Davis High School. God bless you and your family.

Rocky P. Manuel


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