Mt. Pleasant fixture owned service station, founded ambulance service
Jack Caruso Jr. is fairly certain that almost everyone in Mt. Pleasant knew his father, Jack Sr.
“He was a figurehead in Mt. Pleasant forever,” he said. “You could ask anyone in town and they’d have their own little story about my dad.”
As the owner of a longtime service station in town and part of the group that founded Mt. Pleasant Medic 10 ambulance service, Mr. Caruso was a face most Mt. Pleasant residents were familiar with.
John H. “Jack” Caruso Sr. of Mt. Pleasant died Saturday, May 11, 2019. He was 82.
Mr. Caruso was born Dec. 15, 1936, in Mt. Pleasant, the son of the late Henry and Margaret Citro Caruso.
He was a 1954 graduate of the former Ramsay High School.
Mr. Caruso served in the Army National Guard, but didn’t talk much about his experience with his family.
“He was at a rifle-range practice and caught a ricochet,” Caruso Jr. said. “He took a bullet to the chest and it went through his arm as well. He ended up getting a retirement from the Army because of it.”
In 1965, Mr. Caruso took a job at Atlantic Richfield on Main Street in Mt. Pleasant. A few years later, he purchased his own building and opened Jack Caruso and Sons Exxon service station around 1980, which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1999.
In the late 1980s, Mr. Caruso started a bait-and-tackle business that Caruso Jr. still runs today. “He loved fishing,” his son said. “We went to Kooser Lake a lot, and we’d do a lot of muskie fishing as a family down at Somerset Lake.”
The bait-and-tackle sales grew and eventually became a significant portion of the family business, Caruso Jr. said.
Mr. Caruso was one of 10 founding members of Medic 10 ambulance service and served as its first official chief.
In his spare time, Mr. Caruso enjoyed working in his yard and planting flowers, when he wasn’t busy fishing.
Caruso Jr. said he is proud to carry on his father’s legacy in Mt. Pleasant.
“There’s family tradition here,” he said. “I don’t know if we ever planned on doing that, but it means a lot, not just to carry on the business but to support our name and our reputation in town over the years.”
Mr. Caruso is survived by his wife of 59 years, Leona (Harman) Caruso; his sons, John H. “Jackie” Caruso Jr. and his wife, Jennifer, and Jamey Caruso, all of Mt. Pleasant, and Doug Caruso and his wife, Katie, of Mars; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Galone-Caruso Funeral Home, 204 Eagle St., Mt. Pleasant. Additional viewing will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, with a service to follow at the funeral home. Entombment with military rites by American Legion Post 446 will be at Middle Presbyterian Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant Township.
Memorial donations can be made to the Jack Caruso Memorial Fund, c/o Mt. Pleasant Medic 10, 212 Spruce St., Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .