TUSSEY, RICHARD B. (7 Nov. 1918-5 June 1981) was an ardent campaigner for liberal causes. A dedicated unionist, his motto was "to make life better for working people." Born to Jesse and Romaine Berlin Tussey in Pittsburgh, PA, Richard completed elementary and high school there, and then pursued course with various labor organizations. In 1938, inspired by the ideals of Eugene Debs, he became a member of the Socialist Labor Party.
In 1941 he married Viola Bencsis, with whom he had two daughters, Bonnie L. and Romaine. That union ended in divorce. On 1 Aug. 1952 Tussey married a second time, to Jean Yatrovsky Simon.
In 1941 Tussey came to Cleveland. He joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). After its dissolution, he joined the MECHANICS EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, and then the Meat Cutters Union which eventually merged to form the UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS Union.
Tussey's life was unreservedly for the ideals of the political left. He was granted a deferment WORLD WAR II because he "could not fight a capitalist war." Arrested for challenging a Cleveland ban on public speaking in the city's parks, he won the case, and the limitations were rescinded. In 1960 he travelled to Cuba with the Fair Play for Cuba committee, a visit that later saw him hauled before the U.S. Senate's Internal Security Committee. He fought for disarmament, an end to nuclear weapons, the equal rights amendment, and an end to discrimination in employment and housing. Stricken by cancer, Tussey willed his body to CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION. Later his ashes were interred in his family's burial plot in Saltsburg, PA.