Detroit — Fr. John Cusmano is remembered for both his youthful prowess in sports and for the way he bore up under the illnesses that plagued his final years.
“He was the best athlete in our class; he was an expert on the basketball court and in handball playing,” recalled Fr. Lawrence Kaiser, a senior priest who was a classmate of Fr. Cusmano in seminary.
Fr. Cusmano died last Saturday, Oct. 29. He was 73.
Fr. William Sinatra, another senior priest who was also a classmate, recalled Fr. Cusmano as “a bright student, but humble – he didn’t flaunt that at all.”
He also spoke of his classmate’s athletic ability, not only on the basketball court during seminary days, but also in subsequent years on the golf course.
“He was always a winner, and he enjoyed it, but he took it lightly. He had a good sense of humor, a hearty laugh, and was very sociable and friendly. He was always a popular priest in any parish he served,” Fr. Sinatra said.
Fr. Kaiser also recalled Fr. Cusmano’s affability, saying they often got together when they were assigned to nearby parishes.
But for about the last decade of his life, Fr. Cusmano wrestled with ill health that resulted in an early retirement from parish work in 2003, and he spent his last years in various nursing homes hospitals and adult group homes, Fr. Sinatra said.
“He understood the spirituality of the Cross. He hoped in silence, as the Scriptures call us to do. He remained positive and hopeful; he prayed and asked us to pray for him,” Fr. Sinatra added.
John Christopher Cusmano, was born Sept. 6, 1938 in Detroit to Christopher and Rose Cusmano. He attended Nativity of Our Lord School, and then Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, and St. John’s Provincial Seminary, Plymouth Township.
He was ordained June 6, 1964 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit.
Fr. Cusmano served as associate pastor at St. Sebastian Parish, Dearborn Heights; Holy Innocents Parish, Roseville; St. Martin of Tours Parish, Detroit; St. Matthew Parish, Detroit; Divine Child Parish, Dearborn; and St. Martin de Porres Parish, Warren, and was for a time in residence at St. Angela Parish, Roseville, before being granted senior priest status on March 25, 2003.
He is survived by his sister Nina (Joseph) Majetic; nieces Christina and Nina; and nephew Joey.
A funeral Mass was to be celebrated Wednesday, Nov. 2 Shelby Township, by Archbishop Allen Vigneron at St. JohnVianney Church. Burial was to be in Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton Township.
Condolences may be sent to Nina Majetic, 16919 Mary Wood, Macomb Township 48042.