Deceased Name: Jack R. Tussey retired on-the-street police detective
Jack R. Tussey, who relished his role as a street investigator to the day he hung up his badge after 29 years with the San Diego Police Department, died Tuesday of a heart attack.
Mr. Tussey, 65, was stricken while playing for the team he managed in the El Cajon Senior Softball League.
He retired as a police detective a decade ago, donning a raid jacket and delivering a search warrant on his final day on the job.
"We had to drive him out of the field for his own (retirement) cake," Lt. William Howell of the investigations unit told The San Diego Tribune on the day Mr. Tussey retired.
"Dad always preferred to be in the thick of it," said Patrick Tussey, of San Diego, one of his two sons.
"He never was a desk-type cop. The only inside work he did was in the jail area."
In his last year as a detective, Mr. Tussey and another officer arrested a 67-year-old North Park man who had been sought by authorities for 20 years after escaping from a Virginia prison.
Although many of his assignments were "undercover," Mr. Tussey wore next to nothing during an investigation at swimsuit optional Black's Beach.
His duty: to gather information on child pornographers who were believed to be making contacts at the beach.
"It worked out well," he told The Tribune upon his retirement. "I guess they figured I looked the part, just walking up and down the beach talking to everyone. We got a lot of useful information."
A sting operation in a San Diego laundry found him posing as the owner's uncle. The work led to the arrest of 23 suspects in a stolen-property ring.
Once, Mr. Tussey's tenacious pursuit of a suspect resulted in a dubious "reward": a parking ticket.
After joining another plainclothes detective, Ray Testa, in arresting a bank robbery suspect in downtown San Diego, Mr. Tussey returned to the unmarked car he had left at the curb outside. He had been cited for parking in a red zone.
A native of DeWitt, Neb., Mr. Tussey joined the San Diego Police Department after nine years in the Navy. He had been in the submarine service and served in the the Korean War.
As a policeman, Mr. Tussey played in softball leagues for years. While living in Mission Village, he coached Mission Village Little League and Serra Mesa Pony League.
A Lakeside resident at the time of his death, he had been active for 23 years in the Lakeside Optimist Club and was a member of El Cajon Elks Lodge 1812.
In addition to son Patrick, he is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mary; a daughter, Kathy Lee Miller, of La Mesa; another son, Jack M., of San Diego; a sister, Kay Bauer, of Fremont; his parents, Carroll and Esther Tussey, of Fallbrook; and five grandchildren.