Lawrence — John Fusco, 90, a native of Lawrence, Mass., longtime employee at Honeywell Information Systems, and a decorated WWII radar system operator with the U.S. Navy, died on Monday, April 7, 2014.
Mr. Fusco, a 1941 Lawrence High School graduate, who took up weightlifting as a teenager with lifelong friend, John Gentile, was a member of the Oscar Matthes Weight Lifting Club. He was a medalist in the light-weight division of the Massachusetts weight-lifting championship in 1943. He exercised and lifted daily into his 80’s, and was exceptionally active and healthy until the last month of his life. Mr. Fusco enjoyed his weekly breakfast meetings with good friend, Pat Plantamura. John loved his family and was always there to lend a hand with rides to appointments and grocery shopping. He never missed an occasion to enjoy the company of family and friends.
He served with great pride on the destroyer USS Colahan in Admiral Halsey’s 3rd Fleet, the largest naval force ever assembled. His ship provided support in the Battles of Surigao Strait, Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. His ship provided protective cover to the USS Missouri during the Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay.
One of Uncle John’s last words were “if you can’t keep moving forward, you’re gone.” He was referring to surviving Halsey’s Typhoon that struck the 3rd fleet in the Pacific in December 1944, sinking several destroyers and taking the lives of 800 seamen. “I never feared the enemy,” said this radar man, who regularly identified attacking kamikazes, “it was the seas I feared.” After the war, he never wanted to see another ship.
Mr. Fusco, son of Carmen and Carmella (Parillo) Fusco, was one of eight children. He leaves his beloved sisters, Anna Vallante, Gilda Connors and Antonetta Sirois. He was the loving uncle to Shelia Fusco, Joanne Klier, Diane Bonanno, Andrew Sirois, Gerard Sirois, Cynthia Sirois-Roberge, John Sirois, Lynne Butterworth, and Gina Ardagna. He will be missed by his many great and great-great-nieces and nephews.