Joseph R. Caruso

February 3, 1947February 18, 2022
Obituary of Joseph R. Caruso
Joseph (Joe) R. Caruso, 75, of Newburgh passed away on Friday, February 18, 2022, at his home with his wife Karen by his bedside. Joe was born in Troy, Ohio on February 3, 1947, to the late Joseph C. and Kathryn (Arshen) Caruso. Joe is survived by his wife Karen of 46 years, sisters Fran Lytras (Jamaica, New York), Barbara (Jean) Cazorla (Elmira Heights, New York), and several nieces and nephews. Joe is a 1965 graduate of Greenon High School, Ohio, a 1969 graduate of Kent State University where he earned a BA degree in Ancient History and a 1986 graduate of Wesleyan University, CT where he earned a master’s degree in Science/Astronomy. Joe is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy (Radar/Navigator) serving 3 months on the USS Savanah (Commissioning Crew) and three years on the USS Concord (1970 to 1973) with the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Joe was very proud of his years in the U.S. Navy and often spoke of traveling the Mediterranean Sea especially his time in Rome, Italy. Joe had studied Ancient Rome for so many years he knew the city immediately upon arrival. After Joe’s Honorable Discharge he moved to Elmira, New York where his family had recently located. When Joe and Karen met in 1975 it was love at first sight and they married on February 14, 1976. He spent a few years working as a substitute teacher but was spending his nights learning astronomy. He became an adjunct professor of Astronomy at Elmira College and thus began his new career. He worked at Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon, CT as an Astronomy Instructor and then onto an Astronomy job at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where he was a research assistant and teacher. His next job took him to Harvard, Massachusetts to work for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory running the 61” Telescope and the 84-foot radio telescope. In addition to his work on the telescope he conducted many public tours of the facility and grounds. While in New England, Joe was a speaker at numerous star parties, adult education classes, and a judge at local science fairs. Because of Joe’s tireless efforts as an astronomy teacher for more than 25 years, he was awarded the Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for contributions to astronomy education and outreach in the greater Boston area. After moving to Newburgh Joe was a speaker at several local astronomy events lecturing at the Evansville Astronomical Society and Audubon State Park in Kentucky. Joe also taught Astronomy and World Geography at Ivy Tech Community College (part-time). It was during this time he wrote and published his book “Traveling the Sea of Night”. Joe and Karen spent many enjoyable years together, moving to different towns in the Northeast, traveling the U.S. and visiting Europe on several occasions. Joe looked into the eye of a North Atlantic Right Whale, flew in a hot air balloon, studied the stars and moon, drove mustangs, sailed the high seas, traveled to Europe, studied maps, read and read so many books, continued to learn and teach others and loved his wife, Karen. Joe was a true Renaissance Man who loved learning and loved teaching others. His interests were so diverse that he often surprised us with his knowledge in many different endeavors. He loved discovering new things and surprising us with his unlimited knowledge and loved to tell jokes to see all of us laugh. The family would like to send their abundant appreciation to the staff at Deaconess Hospice and to a very special couple, Kitty and Harry Monahan who made this difficult time so much easier. As Joe said in his final hours “Love is all that matters”. A military burial will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Following the burial, A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at Alexander Newburgh Chapel from Noon until 2:00 p.m. In Lieu of flowers we ask that you please make a donation to the America Cancer Society, Warrick Humane Society or It Takes a Village. Condolences may be offered online at

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Past Services

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Military Burial

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Celebration of Life Gathering