Anthony John Cruise “Tony”

Anthony John Cruise


July 15, 1946 – June 20, 2017

The family will receive friends Sunday, June 25th, from 5pm to 7pm at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm at the church.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Monday, June 26th at 10am at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church.  GRAVESIDE SERVICE Monday, 2pm, St. Patrick Cemetery in Massena, Iowa with military honors by Anita, IA American Legion Post 210.  Memorials to: St. Robert Bellarmine School;  ARCH; Nebraska Humane Society; or Josie Harper Hospice House.



Anthony John Cruise was born to Dr. John Welsh Cruise and Wilma (Hill) Cruise on July 15, 1946, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Tony entered eternal rest on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

Tony attended Creston High School and graduated in 1964.  Tony and friends in Creston played golf or just chipped and putted every day.  His father had a light installed at the putting green so they could even practice at night.  Tony attended Creston Community College and then transferred to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.  He graduated with a BSBA in Economics in 1969.  He was captain of the Creighton golf team, won the Crestmoor Club Championship in college, won the Shadow Ridge Senior Club Championship and had four holes-in-one.  He was on the Board of Directors at Field Club of Omaha and Ironwood Golf and Country Club.  He made sure his grandchildren started junior golf at 5 years old so they learned the right way.  Tony had so many golfing buddies through the years and always had a joke or story to tell.

Flying was another passion.  He got his private pilot’s license at 14, and at 15 he put together a group of 15 people to invest $100 each to purchase an Aeronica Champ.  He got the flying bug from his father. 

Kay met Tony in Lincoln, Nebraska at a Bobby Kennedy rally in February of 1968.  One of her roommates was from Creston and Tony had worked for her father at his men’s clothing store.  Tony always liked to dress well and especially made sure his shoes were shined.  His cars were always as shiny as his shoes!  Kay immediately was impressed with his great sense of humor and great laugh, how well-dressed he was at 21, and that he had so many goals in mind for his life. 

Tony and Kay were married at St. John’s Church at Creighton University on August 16, 1969. 

Tony was on active duty in the US Army Infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia and was in the National Guard for many years.  He was honorably discharged in 1982 as a Captain.

Tony worked for Wilson Foods for almost 30 years.  He was hired even though they did not have an opening in sales at the time because they knew he would be a great asset.  He started work in Omaha and transferred to Scottsbluff, Nebraska as a retail sales rep.  Their first daughter, Michelle, was born there.   One year later he was transferred to Los Angeles, California.  Their second daughter, Jean, was born in Pomona.  Tony was promoted to Area Sales Manager and won numerous sales awards from Wilson Foods.  Then he was transferred to Seattle, Washington where he was Regional Sales Manager and won Sales Manager of the Year.  In 1979 he was transferred back to Omaha where he was Sales Manager.

In 1989 Wilson Foods decided to use brokers for their sales rather than in-house salespeople.  Tony started his own brokerage firm, Cruise Marketing, Inc. in 1989 with just himself and a secretary.  He added one other salesperson whom he knew from Wilson in Oklahoma City, and off they went.  Tony’s work ethic and hard-driving personality grew the company into the largest perishable food brokerage in the Midwest, with offices in four states.  He liked to get things done right and quickly and most business was done with a handshake.  In 1993 he purchased his Beechcraft Bonanza.  That was a real thrill for him.  He knew he could really grow the business by being able to get around quickly to different locations and meet with customers on short notice.  He said it was the best decision he made.  And, of course, he absolutely loved flying and was a very conscientious pilot.  He and Kay also took many great trips all over the country to visit family and vacation.  The plane’s call sign was 122TW (Tango Whiskey).  Everyone at Millard Airport knew who 2TW was and loved that call sign.  Another interesting thing: he was in his plane flying to Chicago on business on 9/11.  The FAA ordered all planes to land immediately at the nearest airport.  He landed in Cedar Falls and didn’t know the reason he was grounded until he went into the hangar.  Flying was always a thrill!

Tony was on the Board of Directors of the ARCH for almost 30 years as well as being President of the Board for ten years.  His organizational skills were legendary.  His positive attitude, insistence on excellence and being on time made him very successful in his business and personal life.

Tony loved cooking and grilling and eating in general.  When he was a teenager, he was the cook for the Chicken Inn in Creston and could cook numerous items at one time and all would be cooked to perfection.  Beef was his favorite and everyone who ate his eggs benedict raved about them.  He enjoyed talking to customers at all the food shows over the years and watching them enjoy testing new products. 

He loved music, especially jazz.  He played the trumpet in high school and at Creston Community College.  He loved playing in the dance band, too.

Dogs were another passion.  He even flew one schnauzer back and forth to Arizona to get her cancer treatments.  He did it on a regular schedule, and once when he landed at his usual refueling stop in Dalhart, Texas, the airport owner told him that they had gotten a call from Homeland Security about 2TW’s schedule of landing the same days and times every week.  He told Tony he just told them not to worry, that it was “just an old man and his dogs.”

Tony loved his family more than anything else.   He worked extremely hard and would get up at 4 AM to begin his day and was out of town every week.   He loved everything he did and said he had an absolutely perfect life.  He and Kay enjoyed many trips he won from his sales efforts, but especially enjoyed personal vacations in later life to Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Now he is on his last sojourn to see his parents and other family, as well as all his doggies at the Rainbow Bridge.  We will miss you terribly, Tony, but feel so lucky to have had you with us as long as we did. 


Tony is survived by his wife, Kathleen “Kay” Cruise; daughter, Michelle Lewis (Todd) and sons: John Anthony Rourke, Benjamin Chase, and James Patrick; daughter, Jean Nesler (Matt) and daughters, Maya Kay and Ciera Jean; sisters, Kate Coen (Mike) and Julee Cruise (Edward Grinnan); aunt, Mary Ann Mattas; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.





  • Sharon Irelan Posted June 22, 2017 2:13 pm

    Sorry to hear about Tony. Thoughts and prayers to his family and many friends. Hold your precious memories close and use them to bring comfort. Sharon and Don Irelan

  • Chris Fredricksen Posted June 22, 2017 2:16 pm

    Kay…please accept our most sincere sympathy in your loss of Tony. It was my privilege to have known him and spend time having wonderful conversations with him. You and your family are in my heart and prayers.

  • Bill Castonzo Posted June 22, 2017 3:15 pm

    Tony was a great guy and always had something good to talk about. Sorry to see a fellow meat broker leave us too soon!

  • Brenda Brown Posted June 22, 2017 3:28 pm

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. All of your golfing friends here in SaddleBrooke are sorry for your loss.

  • Caarolyn Corken Hirsch Posted June 22, 2017 3:47 pm

    Kay, I was saddened to hear of your husband’s passing. Knowing you and your self-confidence and pizzazz (you wore a flower in your hair at the reunion, I recall), he must have been quite a man. I hold you in my heart and wish for you comfort in your memories.

  • Karen Koopman Posted June 22, 2017 4:14 pm

    Kay, so sorry for your loss. I want to extend my sympathy to you and your family. I know he will be greatly missed. All my love.

  • Linda Fowler Posted June 22, 2017 4:21 pm

    Dear Kay and family, I was saddened to hear of the death of your husband and father. I did not know him personally, but he sounds like a wonderful man. You are in my prayers.

  • Sherrel Vest Miller Posted June 22, 2017 4:52 pm

    I graduated from CHS in ’64 with Tony. He always had the best smile and was a great person. My thoughts and prayers to all his family. God bless

  • Linda Trenkle McLaren Posted June 22, 2017 8:08 pm

    Very sorry to hear of Tony’s passing. Funny how whenever I was at Kate’s house, her big brother Tony seemed so much older than us!! I can picture him laughing in the kitchen and thinking that he was his father’s clone. To my ears they sounded a lot alike. I enjoyed reading the bio. Sounds like he led a very full and useful life. One cannot ask for more than that. My heartfelt sympathy to all the family.

  • Alan & Judy Brock Posted June 22, 2017 8:13 pm

    Our deepest sympathy Kay to you and the fsmily?

  • Jonathan Hansen Posted June 22, 2017 8:36 pm

    Sorry for your loss…Great man and leader..

  • Julie wallace craig Posted June 22, 2017 9:21 pm

    My love to all of Tony’s family! I remember Tony as larger then life and always a friendly smile and glad heart! I was a high school classmate and so will miss him at reunions! Bless you family and keep you safe!

  • Tom and Joan Gerace Posted June 23, 2017 5:00 am

    Our deepest respect to you Kay and your family. Your husband was always a pleasure to see and speak with we truly loved him May his soul rest in peace

  • jon foley Posted June 23, 2017 8:42 am

    So sorry for your loss Kay. Tony was a great classmate and I always remember our band trips in high school. He always had a smile. He really enjoyed his high school days, and when we were in jr. college. We will always remember his love for golf( we kidded him about playing pasture pool).
    God Bless. Jon/Lenita Foley

  • William Trapani Trapani Posted June 23, 2017 1:25 pm

    Kay, your Tony was one of the best. He came to Los Angeles and I was his Sales Manager at Wilson & Co. We did many good things together including golf. I’m 95 and still playing golf three times a week. Now live in Texas. God Bless Tony, together one day we will be playing the game on the clouds. Bless you Kay…..Bill Trapani.

  • Jacquie Christiansen Posted June 23, 2017 3:39 pm

    Dear Kay
    I was so sad to hear that you had lost your husband, I didn’t know him, but, can’t imagine the loss one must feel to lose your partner God bless. We are all here for you in SB

  • Bonnie Barker Posted June 23, 2017 3:56 pm

    Dear Kay and Family,
    I am so sorry to hear about Tony. What a wonderful bio—sounds like he enjoyed a full and happy life! My thoughts are with you.
    Bonnie Barker

  • Rick and Karen Neneman Posted June 24, 2017 8:44 am

    We are sending our deepest sympathy to the Cruise family. Tony was a wonderful role model and I am grateful for the opportunity our I had working for him. He will be missed. Love from our family to yours. Rick and Karen

  • Sharon Ugland Posted June 24, 2017 9:50 am

    Although I did not have the pleasure of knowing your husband you and your family are
    In my thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

  • Gene & Patty Elliott Posted June 24, 2017 12:54 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Tony was a good man. He will be missed. Hugs await you when you return to SaddleBrooke.

  • Karen (Crown) Houghton Posted June 28, 2017 6:19 am

    Sorry to hear of Tony’s passing. May God give you comfort. With my maiden name being Crown, we often sat by each other in classes during our high school years. In those days everything was alphabetical! 🙂 I know he will be missed.


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