USF mourns loss of long-time employee

During the 64 years of Ernesto Riusech’s life, he moved to the United States from South America, played minor league baseball, developed a youth soccer exchange program and helped improve USF’s Tampa campus.

Riusech was a well-known man at this university for his work, dedication and friendly personality, those who knew him said. Riusech, a native of Brazil and maintenance supervisor for Parking and Transportation Services, died of cancer Nov. 2 at 64.

Frank Granda, operations coordinator for parking services, said Riusech had medical difficulties that began last spring and kept him from work throughout the summer and fall. Granda said Riusech was planning to return to work once he received approval from the doctor.

“Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to return,” Granda said.

Riusech worked at parking services for about 20 years and was responsible for keeping the parking lots at the university maintained by painting, patching holes and relocating reserved spaces for the lots on campus.

Granda, who has known Riusech for about 13 years, said it was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with Riusech because of his positive attitude and kind words.

“He was one of the nicest, friendliest guys I knew,” Granda said. “He was one of USF’s greatest fans. He thought the world of USF.”

Riusech was a former recipient of the USF outstanding staff award and was the coach for the parking services’ staff softball team. Riusech was a pitcher for the New York Yankees minor league in the 1950s.

Riusech’s family, his wife, son and daughter held a funeral service on Nov. 5, and staff members from parking services, and other colleges and departments attended. Parking services dedicated its Web site to the memory of Riusech to let the university know what type of person he was, Granda said.

Capt. Bob Staehle, for University Police, said Riusech always had a smile on his face, enjoying life and different cultures. “It didn’t seem like he ever had a bad day,” Staehle said. “Even if he wasn’t feeling good, you wouldn’t know it.”

Staehle said Riusech was always willing to assist UP with situations from alternating traffic routes to cooking at the grill for staff picnics.

“In an emergency situation to block a roadway, he was always there,” Staehle said. “He was always at our cookouts at the grill with food and jokes.”

Paul Uravich, chief of UP, said he and Riusech shared an interest in youth soccer. Uravich said Riusech’s friends from Brazil came once to visit and had an idea to start an exchange program for soccer teams in the United States and Brazil.Two youth soccer teams from the United States, a 16-and-under team and 18-and-under team, went to Brazil, and two teams from Brazil came to the United States to compete with other teams in the country.

Uravich said he was the coach of one of the teams, and Riusech came along as a friend and because he shared a liking for the program.

Rick Fender, associate vice president for Administrative Services, said Riusech was an extremely personable individual who has contributed a lot to USF.

“He was very responsive to peoples’ requests for service,” Fender said. “He made the university look nice for everybody.”Fender said Riusech was a well-known person because he was outside all the time and talked to people on campus. Fender said there were a lot of people who attended Riusech’s funeral, not only from parking services, but from other departments at USF.

“He always stopped what he was doing to talk to me,” Fender said. “He is a person that will certainly be missed.”

Greg Sylvester, director for parking services, said he will always remember Riusech’s positive attitude and how he spread it throughout the department.

Sylvester said, last spring, when parking services had a bar-b-que, Riusech volunteered to cook all the meat. He said during Riusech’s last few months of battling cancer he would visit the parking services staff.

“He was a wonderful employee,” Sylvester said. “If you asked him to do something you knew it would get done.”

Sylvester said Riusech would show concern for other peoples’ families, even during business meetings.

“He would always find a way to ask, how’s your family,” Sylvester said. “He was the type of person the world can use a whole lot more of.”

Riusech is survived by his wife Angela, his son Greg and his daughter Tammy.

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