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In loving memory of
Joseph Rusnock
  • July 25, 1949
  • -
  • October 21, 2022

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Obituary

Joseph Rusnock was born in Hazleton, PA on July 25, 1949.  He studied theater at Penn State University, where he met his wife Deborah.  He completed his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota and worked for several years at the Guthrie Theatre and the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For 10 years, he designed and executed sets, props, lights and costumes for numerous live productions including the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Mohawk Valley Performing Arts Company in New York.  He began his teaching career at Tarkio College known for the Mule Barn Theatre. He then taught theatre design at Hamilton College in New York. Following that, he served as a professor at the University of Central Florida, teaching stage production, set design and lighting design, as well as managing stage set productions for over 50 productions. He served as Associate Chair, as well as, Acting Chair/Artistic Director of the Theatre Department. Joseph completed his career in the classroom where it all began and retired in 2018. He is survived by his wife Deborah, son Noah, and daughter-in-law Christina. He was predeceased by his son Aaron.  As an avid gardener, Joseph loved cultivating and caring for his treasured Bonsai plants. He was also a great lover of animals, and his pets gave him great joy and comfort. Although he relished the Florida heat and sunshine, his first trip after Covid closures was to Iceland and Norway. That trip gave him much joy. As per Joseph’s request no funeral or memorial service will be held. If you would like to honor him, Joseph invites you to make a donation to Pet Rescue by Judy, his favorite charity, https://www.petrescuebyjudy.com/. Joseph often said if he could run away to the circus, it would be Cirque du Soleil. Their artistic genius was an inspiration to him throughout his career.

 


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  1. Jerry, Yvette and Franceska Benson says:
    09 Nov 2022
    We just loved Joseph and his bright spirit. He was one of our neighbors here in our cozy little neighborhood, Huntleigh Woods. We looked forward to seeing him on his walks with his wife Debra and their 2 lovable dogs Sophie (rip) and Jasper. We enjoyed his upbeat conversations and kind personality. He contributed to keeping our neighborhood tidy and cared for. During the Holiday time, he created the BEST decor. Lights of blue and white in unique shapes shining bright in front of their home every Christmas. Our daughter looked forward to seeing this every year and this is a memory she will keep strong in her heart.
    We were lucky to have known him and to have been his friend. His kind eyes will always be in our memory.

  2. Jerry,Yvette&Franceska Benson says:
    09 Nov 2022
    We just loved Joseph and his bright spirit. He was one of our neighbors here in our cozy little neighborhood, Huntleigh Woods. We looked forward to seeing him on his walks with his wife Debra and their 2 lovable dogs Sophie (rip) and Jasper. We enjoyed his upbeat conversations and kind personality. He contributed to keeping our neighborhood tidy and cared for. During the Holiday time, he created the BEST decor. Lights of blue and white in unique shapes shining bright in front of their home every Christmas. Our daughter looked forward to seeing this every year and this is a memeory she will keep strong in her heart.
    We were lucky to have known him and to have been his friend. His kind eyes will always bein our memory.

  3. Jerry,Yvette,Franceska Benson says:
    09 Nov 2022
    We just loved Joseph and his bright spirit. He was one of our neighbors who would always say "Hi". He had such joy when he walked around our cozy little neighborhood with his wife Debra and their 2 adorable dogs Sophie (rip) and Jasper. We always looked forward to seeing them, Joseph, as he brought up gleeful conversations. He was devoted to keeping our neighborhood beautiful and cared for. He set up the BEST Christmas decor we have ever laid eyes on. Our daughter looked forward to seeing Joseph's creation every Holiday year. This is something she will never forget, thanks to his brilliant talent of lights and decor. We were truly lucky to have his friendship and to have known him. *His kind eyes will forever shine bright in our memory of him*.

  4. Sybil St Claire says:
    02 Nov 2022
    I worked with Joseph for almost two decades. In addition to being a talented artist and educator, he was compassionate. He cared deeply, he led wisely, he inspired loyalty and confidence. He was, quite simply, a good person - AND he kept a bowl of candy for us on his desk! :)

    He will forever be remembered by those lucky enough to know him.

    Sending peace, comfort, and healing for his family.

  5. Arlene Flores lit a candle:
    01 Nov 2022
    Lit since November 1, 2022 at 11:31:07 AM

  6. Kyra Mcneil lit a candle:
    31 Oct 2022
    Lit since October 31, 2022 at 10:58:50 PM

  7. Judi Siegfried says:
    31 Oct 2022
    Joseph was one of few faculty member here when I was hired as an adjunct over 30 years ago. He was on the Hiring committee 15 years later for me to become a full time faculty member. I will always remember the get to know me lunch he had to take me on during that time. It was a really small department we knew each other quite well. He was quiet yet so funny about the situation. He was so even tempered and a great leader in our department. You will be missed, Rest In Peace my my dear colleague and friend.

  8. Judi Siegfried says:
    31 Oct 2022
    Joseph was one of the few professors that was here at UCF when I was hired as an adjunctive 30yrs ago. He was on My hiring committee to make me a full time faculty after being an adjunct for over 15 years. He was the nicest and even tempered colleague I have ever known. A wonderful leader in our Theatre department. Only fond memories. Rest In Peace my dear dear colleague and friend.

  9. Holly E McDonald says:
    31 Oct 2022
    Joseph was a member of the hiring committee that welcomed me into UCF 21 yrs ago. This support changed the direction of my life and I will always be grateful. Wishing Joseph's family comfort and strength.

  10. Tara D. Snyder lit a candle:
    31 Oct 2022
    Lit since October 31, 2022 at 10:36:59 PM

  11. Donald W. Seay says:
    28 Oct 2022
    Rest in peace, my Friend. Hope to see you on the other side.

  12. Harry Smith says:
    28 Oct 2022
    Joseph Rusnock was a profoundly creative and academic gift to The University of Central Florida. He brought imagination and experience to theatre production, understanding, and education. He was an expert at tactfully navigating bureaucracy, a skill indeed for bringing Art to a rapidly expanding major university. He was a great friend, colleague, and dining partner. Our evenings with Joseph and Deborah were high points, especially the meals at their house. Although we left Central Florida some years ago, our memories are strong. Shrimp steamed in a bamboo basket come readily to mind.
    Joan and Harry Smith

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