Obituary for Rudolph (Rudy) John Haluza July 5, 1931 - September 27, 2021 (age 90)
Rudolph (Rudy) John Haluza was born Sunday, July 5, 1931, in New York State. The first son of Rudolph S. Haluza and Elizabeth (Betty) Trusik, first-generation immigrants from Slovakia.
Rudy grew up in Bayside, New York where he attended PS 41 and Bayside High School. He attended Queen’s College and was active in Track and Field events, including Racewalking. In 1953, Rudy joined the US Air Force, assigned as a Navigation Instructor at Harlingen Air Force Base in Harlingen, Texas. He completed his degree and graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 1956. During his time in Texas, Rudy met his future wife, Elizabeth A. Schendel. The two were married in Elizabeth’s hometown of Brownsville, Texas, on December 26, 1956. Together, they had three children, Rudy John II in 1958, Elizabeth in 1960, and Michael in 1962.
After graduating from Air Force Pilot training and attaining the rank of Captain and C-47 Pilot, Rudy was assigned to Oxnard Air Force Base in California and eventually transferred to London for a three-year assignment flying C-47s to many parts of Europe. Upon completing his assignment, Rudy and his family returned to the states and settled in Riverside, CA, at March Air Force Base. Rudy joined United Airlines in 1967 as a Flight Officer for a 25-year career flying B727s, DC-8s, and DC-10s.
Rudy race walked competitively and won his first of 10 National Race Walking titles in 1957. In 1960, Rudy qualified for the US Olympic Team and competed in the 20KM Race Walk at the Rome Olympic Games. He again qualified and competed in the 20KM Race Walk for the US Olympic Team in the 1968 Mexico City Games, where he finished in 4th place.
In 1970, the Haluza Family moved to Villa Park, California. Rudy was active in the California Rare Fruit Growers, specializing in Cherimoyas. As a master grafter, he introduced a new variety of cherimoya, the El Bumpo. Upon his retirement from United Air Lines in 1998, Rudy devoted much of his time to the care and maintenance of a mixed grove of avocado, various citrus, cherimoya, and other subtropical fruits in Temecula, California.
He was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth in 2015. He is survived by his brother Theodore R. Haluza, his three children, six grandchildren, and one great-grandson.
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