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Gary E. Zalusky

July 4, 1957 August 16, 2022
Gary E. Zalusky
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Obituary for Gary E. Zalusky

Gary E. Zalusky, 65, of Pottsville, passed away Tuesday afternoon in Schuylkill Center, Pottsville.

Born in Pottsville on July 4, 1957, he was a son of the late Edward A. and Thelma (Searle) Zalusky.

He was employed for 7 years and retired from Fabcon Precast after sustaining a life-altering injury. While employed at Alcoa then later Cressona Aluminum (CA), he served as a member of their Health and Safety Committee and Fire Brigade. He also held positions in various Quality Control, Quality Assurance, Maintenance and Mill Departments. He was proud of his 25 years of employment at the mill.

Gary was a past President of Schuylkill County Fire Police and life member having served over 30 years; current President and Captain of Pottsville Bureau of Fire; and an active member of the State and Local Fire Police.

He was a firefighter with Station 40 and The Goodwill for 10 years then continued his service to the city with Station 30, and Humane for an additional 27 years. Gary's home was directly across from the fire house which meant he was always ready, willing, and able whenever his pager went off and the whistle blew...he bravely responded to the needs of the Pottsville community.

For many years Gary and his beloved wife, Nancy, were active members in the planning and coordination of the Greater Pottsville Cruise and Traffic Control.

Gary and Nancy also shared a love of retired racing greyhounds and at one point in their marriage were caring for 5 retired greyhounds, all at the same time. After Nancy passed away, Gary continued being faithful to their companions, a beautiful greyhound, "Personality Plus" (Percy Girl) and a Schnauzer mix (Monkey Man).

Gary lived a very simple life but one thing he really enjoyed was cruising with Royal Caribbean. He was only 3 points away from Diamond status and sadly due to his diagnosis of glioblastoma was not able to obtain that status.

Gary's dedication, determination, inner fortitude, and willingness to show up as a firefighter served him well as he bravely fought the daily, long, hard, 2-year fight to beat his cancer. He went through 30 rounds of radiation at Simon Kramer Institute; he endured 7 rounds of chemo, suffered 2 major heart attacks, and finally, his left arm and leg were left incapacitated from a stoke.

One final tribute was paid to Gary coordinated by Compassus Hospice while he was a patient at Schuylkill Center. On Friday, July 22, 2022, Engine #32 of the Humane Fire Company drove up to see him, the sun was shining and the sky above was blue. Gary had his gold Pottsville Fire Police Captain's badge on and his Senior Captain shirt. He had a big smile on his face while spending time with his long-time friends and partners, John "Bump" Fox, Joe Spotts and "A.J." Assistant Chief 68-03.

Gary responded to his "Last Call" on 8/16/22 and "he's putting out fires in Heaven" as his radiation Tech Joe from Simon Kramer so appropriately conveyed in his sympathy text. Free at last Gary Guy--you have earned the Good Long Sleep by Nancy's side.

It was a difficult ending for such a strong PROUD man.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, in 2012 and to whom he was married 24 years.

Gary is survived by 8 cousins living in various counties of PA, NJ, and SC, and also, his sister-in-law, Betsy Bixler, wife of Craig, of Pottsville, who was his faithful caregiver throughout his illness. Betsy also worked in the Sales & HR Departments at CA and played matchmaker for Gary to meet her sister, Nancy. He married her, moved to Pottsville and she is forever grateful to him as they enjoyed 24 years together as reunited sisters.

An announcement will be made for Gary's interment at Our Lady of Calvary Cemetery at a later time.

The family request contributions in Gary's memory be sent to: Nittany Valley Greyhound Rescue, 30 TLD Circle, Port Matilda, PA 16870.

Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be expressed at lordbixler.com

To plant a tree in memory of Gary E. Zalusky, visit the Tribute Store.

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