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Obituary: Dr. Richard Cusimano Long-time faculty member and administrator

Dr. Richard Charles Cusimano, age 84, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on May 28, 2024, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Dr. Cusimano left behind a community made better by his devotion to his family and to his many students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Dr. Cusimano was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 17, 1939. A graduate of Jesuit High School, he went on to earn his Masters at St. Louis University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in European history with a focus on medieval and Renaissance history. He joined the USL History Department in 1970.

Dr. Cusimano gained a reputation over his 34-year tenure at UL Lafayette as a thought-provoking and dynamic history professor, head of the History and Geography Department, and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. “All of his classes fill to capacity as students clamor to secure a seat,” Dr. Robert Carriker wrote when Dr. Cusimano was honored as a Distinguished Professor in 2004. His former students are found far and wide and recall his inspiring classes fondly even after many years. His translations of medieval Latin texts have earned wide recognition, and have been used in many university courses around the country for their vivid depictions of social, political, religious, and daily life during that period.

Dr. Cusimano loved to be outdoors, and especially enjoyed canoeing. Even in his later years, he and his cousin Kelly Canulette embarked on an extended canoe trip in Montana and lived to tell the tale after capsizing in rough water. He and Thetis, his beloved wife of thirty years, traveled far and wide to places like New Zealand and China over the years, and loved visiting North Carolina, Arkansas, and the American West. In addition, Dr. Cusimano was a devoted Saints fan and was particularly proud to have attended their very first game in 1967.

All those who knew Dr. Cusimano were familiar with his sometimes irreverent sense of humor and love of a good laugh. And no one could ever miss his devotion to Thetis, or his intense grief when she passed away suddenly in 2019. His family meant the world to him, and he remained very close to his children and grandchildren throughout the years.

Dr. Cusimano was preceded in death by his dear wife of thirty years, Thetis A. Cusimano and his parents, Frank and Grace Cusimano. Dr. Cusimano is survived by his five sons, Robert Kim Cusimano, Richard Cusimano, Jr., Russell Kiley Cusimano (Nicole), Christopher Joren Lyons (Shi Yun), Max Cusimano (Samantha), and his daughter, Chelsea Cusimano (Griffin), and dog, Bauer. Dr. Cusimano leaves behind a brother, Frank Cusimano, Jr. Dr. Cusimano was the beloved grandfather of four grandchildren, Alida, Sylvie, Rose and Frances.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dr. Richard Cusimano Research Fund at The Center for Louisiana Studies at UL Lafayette.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at La Chapelle de Martin & Castille at 330 St. Landry Street in Lafayette.  Deacon Robert Klingman will conduct at the services.

The family requests that visitation be observed on Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until services commence at 10:45 A.M.

Inurnment will be held in Calvary Cemetery in Lafayette immediately thereafter, attended by the family.

View the obituary and guestbook online at www.mourning.com

Martin & Castille Funeral Home – DOWNTOWN, 330 St. Landry Street, Lafayette, Louisiana 70506, 337-234-2311

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Richard Cusimano, please visit our floral store.

Athletic Network Obituary and footnote posted by Ed Dugas, June 4, 2024 with information provided by Charlene Hamilton, Director of UL Human Resources. Lead information provided by Dr. Jim Reeves, former Dean of Engineering and fellow-Academic Dean.
Employment History:
1967 – initial hired by university and later held various administrative positions.
2004 – Retired Emeritus Professor.
2005-2012 – Return to Work retiree.

Peace, Ed Dugas
athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu