JOPLIN - John Iver Fusk, 85, died Friday, Dec. 23, 2005, when he was struck by a railroad train while walking into Joplin.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin. Burial will follow in the Joplin Cemetery.
John was born May 23, 1920, on the family homestead in the Alma community north of Joplin to Peter and Olianna (Gotsvosli) Fusk. John grew up on the farm and received his formal education at the nearby Tingdahl country school.
John helped on the family farm for a few years, then began working as a ranch hand for various farmers in the north Joplin community. In the 1950s, he moved to White Sulphur Springs, where he worked as a lumberjack and rancher for many years. John retired in 1985 and continued to live in White Sulphur Springs. In 1996, he moved back to Joplin to be closer to his family.
Although his eyesight and hearing had failed him in recent
years, John's physical health remained relatively good. He attributed this good health to his daily walks in and around Joplin. No matter the weather, these treks totaled 15-20 miles each day. On Friday afternoon, John was finishing a walk north into Joplin on State Highway 224. Although the railroad crossing warning apparatus was operational, John apparently believed he could get across the tracks before the arrival of a westbound freight train. He was struck by the train and died instantly.
In addition to his love of walking, John enjoyed gopher hunting. During his quiet time at home, he enjoyed reading, word-search puzzles and braiding bailing twine ropes. He was an avid fan of the Paul Harvey radio show and he enjoyed several news and game shows on television. After he retired, he kept busy shoveling walks and supplying firewood to many of the widow ladies in White Sulphur Springs. After moving back to the Hi-Line, he enjoyed his daily coffee breaks at the Joplin Bar or an occasional lunch at the senior citizens center in Chester. Although John enjoyed people, he was a little eccentric and appreciated his quiet, private life. He was proud of the fact that he had been a member of A.A. for the past 20 plus years.
John was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Harold and Donald Fusk, and nephew, Walter Bilden.
Survivors include his sister, Alice Bilden of Havre; brother, Cliff Fusk of Port Angeles, Wash.; nieces, Pat Meldrum, Janet Bilden, Christine Sapp, Debbie Dees and Ellie Keeley; and nephews, Whitey Bilden and Leonard Fusk.
Undesignated memorials will be given to the Bethel Church in Joplin.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.