June 3, 1952 – November 16, 2018
Rusty Souza, age 66, was taken home in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior, Friday, November 16, 2018 surrounded by his family. Rusty was born June 3, 1952 in Madera, CA to Manuel and Beulah Souza. He grew up in Kerman where he met and married his wife Martie Eppler. Rusty is a Navy Vietnam Veteran, served on the North Central Fire District Board of Directors for 26 years and worked for CAL-Fire for 33 years retiring as a Battalion Chief in 2007 to spend more time with his family. In his spare time, Rusty enjoyed coaching Little League and Babe Ruth, watching his Giants play ball, barbecuing for friends and family, wood working and building projects for his grandchildren, golfing with his friends and brother, taking trips to Tahoe and the coast with his family and spending time with his grandchildren. His favorite holiday was Christmas and seeing the festivities as everyone celebrated the birth of Jesus. Rusty a true jokester and fun to be around was one of a kind, with a personality that no one forgot. He was kind and respectful to anyone he ever met and he will truly be missed by those that had the extreme pleasure to know him.
He is survived by his wife of forty-years, Martie, his daughter Amanda and her two children Leeam and Emerson, his son Daniel and his wife Krisi and their daughter Emily.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 10 a.m. at Kerman Covenant Church, with a graveside following at Fresno Memorial Gardens.
Remembrances can be made to Kerman Baptist Church.
- Manuel John Souza, Father
- Beulah Jane Souza, Mother
- Martie Lee Souza, Wife
- Amanda Lee Souza, Daughter
- Daniel & Krisi Souza, Son
- Rusty also had 3 grandchildren - Leeam, Emerson, and Emily
- Roger Stach
- Clint Vance
- Jim Stringfield
- Larry Brown
- John Cooper
- Roger Croff
- Chris Bump
- Jim Reid
- Funeral Service Tuesday, November 27, 2018
- Final Place of Rest Tuesday, November 27, 2018
November 29, 2018
I met Coach Rusty when I was 11 years old playing baseball for the Bobcats. During baseball season Church was always first, so I would have to leave games early or show up late depending on how long church service lasted. At a young age I thought this was unfair because I would miss part of the games. Rusty always understood and always had my spot waiting for me on the playing field when I arrived even if I had missed practice time earlier in the week for church. When I finished high shcool I started my fire career as a paid-called firefighter at station 95. Chief Souza always stopped by the station to check in on me and another co-worker who also played ball in Kerman. In 2006 I was hired with CDF in the Fresno Unit as a seasonal firefighter. People would always tell me "your one of Rusty's boys", It always was an honor when people mentioned that and I always would do my best to make him proud. In 2006 I was on my first strike team and Chief was the strike team leader. He had me drive him in his vehicle down south to our assignment. We had conversation after conversation but there is one thing he told me that I will never forget and it was "I want you to know I work for you, and never forget where you came from" Rusty always cared about the little people and always made them aware of it. Rusty helped teach me how to play ball and helped pave the way for me in the fire service. Rusty you will never be forgotten and thank you for everything. I love you!
MaryAnne Souza Pereira
November 26, 2018
Rest in peace dear cousin.
November 25, 2018
My memories of you Rusty was when we lived next door in the Fire Department for many years. Our Dad Derrald Burkett was a Fireman along with John, Rusty and Steves Dad ,Manuel Souza. We have many wonderful times and memories in the Fire Department as children. After the families had to move out of the Fire Station we lost contact with the Souza family. But as time went on we reconnect once again on Facebook. We might not see them in person but we will always be connected as a Fireman Family forever. It broke my heart when we received a message from his brother John that Rusty needed prayer because he had lung cancer. Our family and our families church family continued to do so. But God had different plans for Rusty. His time on earth is finished but now he has a forever life with our Heavenly Father in heaven. Rusty honored our Dad as a friend and fireman as some of his other fireman buddies did at his funeral as now I will honor Rusty at his. Because of illness I won’t be able to attend but my thoughts and prayers will be with my Fireman Brother and his family at his funeral. Until we meet again in our heavenly home Rusty your memories will always be in my heart. May God give the Souza Family peace and comfort. The Prim Family from Madera Ca.
November 24, 2018
We lived next door at the Kerman Fire Department. Our dad Derrald Burkett and Manuel Souza we’re partners and that is where I first meet John, Rusty and Steve. We had many good times playing together as kids. We were all then and still now firer families. We reconnected on Facebook and rekindaled our friendship. Rusty was always a funny guy. I remember when my dad died he was there at his funeral, he honored dad and I want to honor Rusty! I will not be able to be at your funeral but I will be there in spirit , with prayers going up for all the family. Thank you for all the fond memories. We will meet again in Heaven. My sincerest condolences.
Mollie Burkett Hodges
November 23, 2018
Rusty and I were partners at the old Mendota stn for a few years. Probably 1 of the worst stations in the CDF system but Rusty made it never boring! He was a solid FF and a good partner to all of us there. He had the ability see humor in situations and treat those around him with respect whether they deserved it or not. Rest in peace brother. Mike Snyder