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News > Alumni In Memoriam > Vale Richard Cusick (30/12/1953-05/12/2022)

Vale Richard Cusick (30/12/1953-05/12/2022)

Our thanks to Patrick (Paddy) Curran (SJC 1972-1976) for providing this tribute to Richard Alton Cusick.

Richard was the son of Jewel and Alton Cusick (Johns 1946 – 50). He was born in Newcastle and grew up at Bar Beach. He was educated at Marist Brothers Hamilton and St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill (1968 – 1971). He attended St. John’s from 1972 – 1974 whilst earning an economics degree at Sydney University, majoring in Industrial Relations.

After graduation he returned to Newcastle and took up a position as an Industrial Relations Officer at Australian Iron and Steel, a subsidiary of B.H.P.

During his University studies he would return to play rugby at Hamilton Rugby Club in Newcastle and continued to do so whilst working at Australian Iron and Steel.  In 1982 he married Deirdre McDonald and went to live on a rural property at Seaham. His love of rugby saw him continue to play even after his marriage.

A catastrophic injury was to befall him in 1985 when a scrum collapsed leaving Richard with a spinal injury which resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic for the rest of his life – a total of 37 years.

Unfortunately his marriage ended but he returned to work at Australian iron and Steel.  A number of renovations were made so that he could return to his work place. He continued to work for another 20 years retiring in 2006. By this time Richard had returned to live on his own in Parkway Avenue, Hamilton eventually moving to Hebburn Street also in Hamilton after he had supervised the renovation.

During retirement Richard was heavily involved and interested in his family, his friends, the Hamilton & Newcastle Rugby Community, often attending matches and watching test matches. He also kept up his particular interest in horse racing.

Richard had an open door policy on his home with friends regularly visiting him, often daily and remained doing so right to the end. He was an interesting and interested person to all he came in contact with. He was always a stimulating conversationalist.

The last year of Richard’s life was particularly difficult, not that you would have known whilst speaking with him. He was bed ridden and only got out of bed to attend medical appointments. He was never full of self-pity and had accepted the burden of quadriplegia with great courage and perseverance.

He received Holy Communion each week from Sister Mary Tobin RSJ. He was never overt or preachy about his Catholic faith but he believed and understood all its facets.

He was a classy guy who despite the slings and arrows sent his way showed our world that suffering is a part of humanity that can be accepted and put to good use.

May he rest in peace.

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