Edward A. Carusi
April 1, 1927 – May 8, 2020
The rich and honorable life of Edward (nee Angelo) Carusi begins in the small hill town of Celano, in the province of L’Aquila, Italy where his parents Vittoriano (Victor) Carusi and Angelina (Mary) Rossi both grew up. After serving in WWI, Victor made the decision to emigrate to America but then met Angelina and fell in love. Their wedding date had to be postponed more than once due to deaths of close relatives (it was customary to do so at that time). Their wedding finally occurred in April of 1926 and after a brief time of wedded bliss, Victor emigrated to Rochester NY under the sponsorship of the Paris family, leaving his pregnant bride behind to live with her new Carusi in-laws. On April 1, 1927, Edward was born and became the adored baby of the family. Victor obtained his U.S. citizenship, and worked and saved to acquire enough money so that Angelie and Angelo could travel with second-class tickets and thereby avoid the trials of Ellis Island. In 1929 or 1930, Angelie and Angelo departed to join Victor. Their departure from their large Carusi clan in Celano was very heart wrenching as they were adored, and the passage was difficult, but the reunion with Victor was blessed and their marriage was strong, loving and long lasting. They both worked very hard and two more children, Ellen and Robert, were born of the marriage. Edward spoke fondly of his years growing up in Rochester, pinching apples from a neighbor’s tree and spending many hours discovering and learning in the public library in his free time.
When Angelo was in his teens, Victor and Mary decided to follow other Italian friends to Los Angeles where work was plentiful. They settled in West Hollywood and Angelo attended Hollywood High School where he played basketball and continued to thrive, changing his name to Edward at some time around this point. While WWII raged, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and upon high school graduation, he journeyed to the Great Lakes Naval Base for boot camp. While en route, the Allied Forces declared victory in Europe, though the war in the Pacific continued to require many men and resources. Upon reporting for service, Edward tested very highly in aptitude and intelligence and he underwent training as a radar technician. However, while in boot camp, he contracted a virus which nearly killed him, and caused him to remain behind while his fellow sailors shipped out for the Pacific. While recuperating, Edward made himself as useful as he could and became friends with the doctor caring for him there. Due to his high intelligence, and following victory in the Pacific, the Navy intended to have Edward report to school at Annapolis, but his doctor intervened on his behalf so that Edward could be discharged and return to Los Angeles, and attend U.C.L.A.
From U.C.L.A, Edward obtained his bachelors, masters, and PhD, and met his future wife, Jean, who was working as a secretary to the Dean of OB/GYN of the medical school. Edward and Jean married on April 12, 1957, and with Jim, Jean’s son from her first marriage, they bought a home in La Canada and Edward worked as a post doc at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He looked upon his time there with tremendous fondness, gaining a great deal of inspiration and pleasure from his fellow scientists and eccentric Nobel Laureates such as Richard Feynman and Jim Watson. While there, Ed and Jean welcomed daughter Gina and son Paul into their family.
From Cal Tech, Edward then went to teach biochemistry at St. Louis University Medical School, and then on to settle in Omaha in 1968 to teach at Creighton University Medical School, where he taught biochemistry to first year medical students until his retirement in 1999. While there, Edward continued to do research, publish, lecture, and was a contributor to the Human Genome Project. His children have fond memories of being taken to the medical school on weekends. While Edward checked on and documented results of his experiments, Paul and Gina visited the lab rats, raced down the gleaming waxed hallways, and drew pictures on the conference room blackboard where they had plenty of colored chalk. Edward also served on the admissions board and when an alum from U.C.L.A. was admitted to the medical school he would often take them under his wing, developing lifelong friendships with some of these students.
Edward and Jean loved to take road trips to visit family in California, Illinois, Canada and Mexico. For a number of years and almost every summer, Ed and Jean left the kids behind and travelled on their own to meet dear friends at a private lake in Colorado, where Edward learned to fly fish and took up the hobby of photography. Once Gina and Paul were out of the house, Edward and Jean enjoyed travelling extensively. He loved classical music, often attending the symphony and the opera. Edward was also an avid tennis player, continuing to play into his 80s, and fostering great camaraderie among his fellow league members.
Edward was a loving husband and father and will be missed tremendously. He was always kind and gracious and honest. He loved to discuss science, music and tennis with anyone who took interest. Edward led a long and meaningful life, playing a part in educating thousands of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and scientists, many of whom hold him in great esteem. His was a life well and honorably lived.
He is survived by his wife, Jean C.; son, Paul E. Carusi; daughter, Gina Carusi; grandchildren, Daniel, Owen, and Olivia; brother, Robert Carusi (Jan); and sister, Nellie Nichols.
Visitation and Time of Sharing: Thursday, May 14th from 3pm to 4pm, at the West Center Chapel.