Barbara Joan Lusk, 73, moved forward from her earthly life on the morning of Wednesday, March 22, 2023 in a Texarkana, Texas hospital. She was born in Texarkana, Arkansas on May 3, 1949, to locally famous baseball player Robert Royce “Gabby” Lusk and the youngest child of Texas Czech immigrants, Lillian Jane Zatopek. As the baby sister of five boys, she was naturally spoiled and doted over as a child. Her brothers, however, did not allow her any special treatment, and gave her a hard time until the last of them passed away. She never married or had children of her own, possibly due to a fear of any suitor having to pass muster with that gauntlet of brothers during holidays. She was a Girl Scout during her early years. Sadly, she was attending Camp High Point at the age of 13 when she received word of her father’s death and had to come home early. Joan, as she preferred to be called, spent her entire life in Texarkana until finishing high school. She was a product of Sacred Heart, then later Saint Edwards Catholic schools. When Saint Edwards closed its doors to the upper grades at the end of the 1966 school year, she attended Texas High for one year. She worked the afternoon half of the day at State First National Bank downtown, beginning a career which would continue through her life. As a result, few friendships were developed during that year. She graduated in 1967, the last year Texas High was still at the Pine Street campus. Ironically, as she was in her final days on earth, the last of those iconic buildings was being demolished by the school district. After graduation, she moved to Denton to attend North Texas State University for two years. She then went to Austin planning to enroll at the University of Texas. Although highly intelligent, college just wasn’t Joan’s thing, and she went to work at City Bank in Austin. With no bachelor’s degree, she nevertheless was promoted to Vice President within a decade. Sadly, she became a victim of the Texas bank failures in the 1980’s. When her bank sold out to FirstCity, they kept her on the payroll, but she was demoted to a branch manager and transferred to San Antonio. Not many years later, FirstCity was closed by the FDIC. She decided to try her hand at a new career and became an office manager for a law firm. Within a couple of years, she concluded that she didn’t like working for lawyers (even though she had a brother and a nephew who followed that path) and moved to Mesquite. She worked in the metroplex for Bank of America, then later Citibank retiring in 2021. While in Austin, Joan was the entertainment director for the Austin Aquafest for several years. She booked the singers and bands for two of the stages during the 10-day festival. Long before Austin City Limits existed, the Aquafest was what made Austin the music mecca it has become today. Her volunteer work there was some of the most rewarding she did in her life, and she spoke of it often. Joan was predeceased by her brothers, Royce Wayne Lusk, William Anthony Lusk, Edward James Lusk, Patrick Gene Lusk, and David Lee Lusk. Although she had no children of her own, Joan leaves behind eight nephews who she was very proud of and spoke to her friends and coworkers about them often; Michael Royce Lusk (Teresa), Kelly Hunt Lusk (Rochelle), Brent Matthew Lusk (Elizabeth), and Royce Ivo Lusk (Courtney) of Texarkana, David Robert Lusk (Caren) and Gary Wayne Lusk (Amy) of the Atlanta, Georgia area, Gregory Andrew Lusk (Michelle) of the Charlotte, North Carolina area, and Damon Patrick Lusk (Christine) of the Boston, Massachusetts area. She also leaves great-nephews and great-nieces and several of their children. This obituary would not be complete without naming her lifelong friends. A famous person once said that a man is lucky if he can find one true friend in his life. Joan must have been the luckiest person alive. Margaret “Pardy” Hay Mentzel, Jean Thomas Williams, and Peggy Potter Burson have been inseparable since they were in their early teens (Peggy came a little later, but before they were adults). They are as much Joans family as anyone named above. Through good and bad, they were the best “sisters” available. They vacationed together, and through her recent illness, they spent countless hours at her side. They are much appreciated by her blood family. The four of them were vacationing together in South Carolina in 2015 when Joan accidentally drowned in a swimming pool, which it is believed led to her rapid decline in recent weeks. If it was not for them, she would not have recovered to enjoy another seven years. A rosary/visitation will be held at East Funeral Home Downtown at 6:30 pm on Monday, March 27. Mass of Christian burial will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 2:00 pm Tuesday, March 28, with interment immediately following at Holy Cross Cemetery next to the church. As per Joan’s request, anything to purchase flowers would be better used by contribution to Sacred Heart Church in the name of the Lusk family. Condolences may be left at www.eastfuneralhomes.com.
Published March 25, 2023