Eugene Thomas DeLuca, 74, college educator

July 19, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Eugene Thomas DeLuca, a retired college educator who introduced a bachelor's degree program in outdoor and recreation management at Frostburg State University, died of Parkinson's disease Wednesday at Northwest Hospital Center. The Owings Mills resident was 74.

Dr. DeLuca, who was born and raised in Providence, R.I., earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1953 from the University of Rhode Island.

After serving in the Army for two years, he earned a master's degree in education from the Teachers College of Columbia University and began teaching and coaching at Ithaca College in New York in 1961.

He earned a doctorate in education in 1963 from Columbia University and after leaving Ithaca in 1973 was chairman of the health, physical education and recreation department at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

In 1976, Dr. DeLuca came to Frostburg, where he established and directed the university's recreation and parks management curriculum until retiring in 1991.

"There are not many colleges that offer a major in recreation and park management and he regularly placed his students at the Olympics, the U.S. National Park Service and Disneyland," said his son Paul R. DeLuca of Reisterstown.

"Gene started the program from scratch and directed it until his health began to fail," said Susan E. Eisel, who recently retired from Frostburg's department of health, physical education and recreation. "His mind was so alert and he remained running the department until his body no longer allowed him to continue. He was a soft-spoken gentleman who was well-liked by the faculty and students. He was such a gentle spirit."

Ms. Eisel added: "He brought a great knowledge base and an enthusiasm that energized and charged his students. He worked hard finding individual internships all over the country that would motivate them and make them want to continue working in the field."

Dr. DeLuca, who had coached his children's Little League teams, enjoyed attending professional sporting vents.

A lifelong Red Sox fan, he carried a commemorative 2004 World Series coin in his pocket until his death.

"We even placed it in his casket," said his son.

Dr. DeLuca was a communicant of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Glyndon, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday.

Other survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Aurora Viola Nigris; another son, Thomas E. DeLuca of Radford, Va.; three daughters, Karen A. Senesi of San Antonio, Texas, Gail M. Mouse of McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., and Patricia R. DeLuca of Owings Mills; and 10 grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.