Robert S. Galusha

EAST BERNE — Robert S. Galusha Sr., a responsible and hard-working man who always made time for his passions, died last Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at the age of 76. 

Galusha was born in Guilderland to Tekla (née Korab) and Eugene Galusha. His mother, who worked as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone as he was growing up, emigrated from Poland when she was 16 years old before marrying Eugene Galusha.

“In that era, my grandfather wouldn’t allow her to speak [Polish] in the house,” said Robert Galusha’s daughter, Paulette Simpson. “He was very strict.” 

Robert Galusha would nevertheless ask his mother about the language and learned a few words here and there, Ms. Simpson said. But Tekla Galusha primarily expressed her heritage through cooking, which Robert Galusha took up as a lifelong hobby. 

He served as a cook in the Navy and, when he had a family of his own, he was the primary cook of the household, taking command of the grocery shopping as well. 

“That delighted my mother,” Ms. Simpson laughed. 

Mr. Galusha spent 32 years as a machinist for General Electric, working evenings. To provide dinner for the family, Ms. Simpson said, he made meals ahead of time so his wife and children could heat them up when it was time to eat. 

“He just got up and did it,” Ms. Simpson said. “Never had to worry about it.” 

In February 1963, while bowling with his brother, Mr. Galusha met Jo-Ann, the woman who would become his wife. The two married that November.

They had four kids, and both of them held jobs. Mrs. Galusha worked with disabled people in Albany, with a focus on head-trauma clients, Ms. Simpson said. 

The couple split responsibility based on their opposite work schedules; Mr. Galusha typically worked from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. — and sometimes until 3 a.m. — while Mrs. Galusha worked during the day. As such, Mr. Galusha took the kids to see doctors and dentists, while Mrs. Galusha took them to sporting events and the like. 

“Even though he didn’t get home until midnight or 4 a.m.,” Ms. Simpson said, “he always got up and made us breakfast and got us ready for school.” 

Outside of his family and professional responsibilities, Mr. Galusha was an “expert hunter” who had an “intricate knowledge” of his equipment, Ms. Simpson said.

Mr. Galusha was just as serious about hunting and fishing as he was about other aspects of his life, leaving behind his wife, who expected to spend plenty of time alone in the fall, as a “hunter’s widow,” Ms. Simpson joked.

“Up until about 10 years ago, he’d be out there every year and get a deer every season,” Ms. Simpson said, adding in jest, “Except the year I was born, which he blamed on me.”

Mr. Galusha liked to share his knowledge with anyone who was willing to listen, Ms. Simpson said, though not everyone in his circle could muster that level of enthusiasm. 

“Sometimes he would just be talking about it and I would nod along,” Ms. Simpson said. “He had a niche of friends he could talk to.”

Built leanly at a height of 6 feet, 7 inches, his generosity of conversation and spirit left an impression of him as a “gentle giant,” Ms. Simpson said. “He looked a little intimidating, but he was kind.” 

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Robert S. Galusha Sr. is survived by his sister, Joan Pippin, and her husband, Darrell; daughter Michelle Wood; son Michael Galusha; daughter Paulette Simpson, and her husband, Sean; and son Robert Galusha Jr. and his wife, Michelle.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Candice, Fallon, Kylee, Isaiah, Jacob, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Laura, Seth, Oliver, and Ethan; his great-grandchildren, Brendon, Hailey, Ivy, Carlee, and Addilyn; and his cousins, Albert and Uncle.

Mr. Galusha’s wife, Jo-Ann, died before him, as did his brother Eugene, and his grandson Aaron. 

A graveside service will be held at the Westerlo Rural Cemetery in the future due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made out to Hudson Mohawk Humane Society, 3 Oakland Ave., Menands, NY, 12204.

— Noah Zweifel

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