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.