Engineer turned to 'Green Acres' farming
By Jerry Vondas
Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
At first, it was difficult for his fellow nuclear engineers to visualize Bill Brussalis as a “city farmer” who, upon his retirement in 1994, planted hundreds of fruit trees and raised numerous cows and sheep on his farm in Forward.
“It was sort of a ‘Green Acres,' where my sisters and I worked on the farm during our school years,” said his son, Chris Brussalis of Collier. “We did everything from running the tractor and feeding the animals to baling hay.”
William “Bill” Brussalis of Forward, a retired nuclear engineer from Westinghouse Electric Corp., died Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in his daughter's home in Spotsylvania, Va. He was 80.
“The men he worked with never had any doubt that he would succeed as a farmer,” said his son. “Dad was known as a hard worker at whatever project he undertook. They also knew him as a man who was fair, could be demanding, but always looking out for the men and women who worked with him.”
Born and raised in Oakland, Mr. Brussalis was one of two children of Bill Brussalis, a Greek immigrant who operated a restaurant in Oakland, and his wife, Dian Gavinsky Brussalis.
Mr. Brussalis washed dishes and mopped floors after school and on weekends in the restaurant, Chris Brussalis said.
After graduating from Schenley High School in Oakland, Mr. Brussalis enrolled in what was then the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering.
His wife, Sue Faulkner, was employed by a law firm when they met. She said her husband had a great sense of humor and looked for ways to help others, such as filling out tax returns for senior citizens.
Mr. Brussalis served on the board of the Municipal Authority of Forward Township. He coached wrestling for the Elizabeth Forward Athletic Association and girls softball for the Forward Township Athletic Association.
In addition to his wife, Sue, and his son, Chris, Mr. Brussalis is survived by daughters Kelly Naccarato of Spotsylvania, Va., Stacy Adduci of Hubbard, Ohio, and Tara Bottino of Carroll in Washington County; and 12 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Dian Hahn.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Stephen D. Slater Funeral Home, 1701 State Route 51, Jefferson Hills, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday.
Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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