Charles Allen Cusack, III, departed this life on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. There will be a viewing on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 from 4:00p.m. - 6:00p.m. at Greater Union First Baptist Church, 240 South Clara Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720; followed by a wake from 6:00p.m.-7:00p.m. His life will be celebrated on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 1:00p.m. at The Sanctuary Church, 401 East Taylor Road, DeLand, FL 32724. Charles Allen Cusack III, born in Daytona Beach, Florida the only son of James E. & Brenda B. Cusack of DeLand, FL. At an early age of 6 months "Allen" was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia. Throughout his life he became the trailblazer for research, treatments, information, methodology and family support. This includes, but is not restricted to: school-attendance policies, blood-transfusion methodology, genetic and pharmacologic research, improvements in pain management research and the support of "Sickle-Cell testing on the blood-testing profile of newborns in the State of Florida; regardless of race" (introduced and influenced by his aunt, Joyce Cusack, R.N. and State Legislator). By age 10, he was the "Sickle Cell Poster Child" for Volusia County, the state of Florida, and a national ambassador for its awareness campaign(s). At the age of 11 he was made an honorary member of its national board after introducing a presentation: "I'm NOT Contagious: A Guide for Young Clients" at its national meeting in Dayton, Ohio. At age 12, he published that work as a guide to help combat social stigmas for children with blood related illnesses through The Journal of Psycho-Social Awareness published by Duke University, in addition to lecturing at schools, colleges, career days and family support & community events. Allen was baptized at Emanuel Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida by his maternal grandfather, the late Reverend Dr. S. L. Badger, Jr. He was an honors graduate of DeLand High School, Cambridge University, The National Academy Of Mortuary Science and Minnesota Graduate School Of Theology at Brooklyn Park. He held degrees in Business Administration, Funeral Services and a Doctorate in Ministry in Christian Music Administration. Unable to compete in sports and participate in outdoor activities, he felt the call to develop his skills and interests in music. Motivated by his maternal grandmother, Susan Moffitt-Badger, to play "Sunday School Hymns" he mimicked her keyboard skills. Further influenced by his aunts Erma Mitchell and Willie Mae Johnson, along with both sets of godparents, he became a 5th generation church musician. His first para-professional experience was as the musician for summer camp at Massey-James Youth Center, Lake Helen, followed by Sunday School musician and director of a critically acclaimed 60 voice youth choir, at Greater Union First Baptist Church, DeLand (where he successfully taught 3 part harmony; recorded a cd and developed a well-rounded repertoire). Not long after, he served as the musician for the Mt. Zion Northeast Coast District's annual youth rally choir. As his talents and interest blossomed, he continued to develop and facilitate music and choir instructions and workshops for Florida General Baptist Convention Women's Auxiliary, Mt. Zion Northeast Coast District Association and Congress, and the "Carrie B. Smokes Music Academy" at St. Annis Primitive Baptist Church. Allen was a music teacher for the African-American Museum Of Arts, later the gospel choir director for Stetson University and the chorus programs at Blue Lake Elementary and Southwestern Middle Schools. In addition to serving as the Minister Of Music for St. Annis, he also served in the Volusia/Flagler Chapter of Gospel Music Workshop of America, as the Director Of Music for the Mt. Zion Northeast Coast District Association, and Florida General Baptist Convention (Women's Auxiliary). Professionally, Allen was the General Manager of J. E. Cusack Mortuary of DeLand, Florida and Rocker Cusack Mortuary Of Leesburg, Florida. He is also an author & lyricist/composer - director. In 1995 he began serving the St. Annis Church Family as musician, along with "Musical Godmother", the late Mother Carrie B. Smokes. He left St. Annis to further his education and upon Mother Smoke's request, he returned to serve as the full-time Minister Of Music in 2014. Additionally, his Godparents the late James & Carol Dandridge enhanced his skills to a level where he proficiently mastered the gift for multi denominational orders of worship through songs. Husband of Karen ("His Care Bear") D. Cusack and father of Ayja, Destiny, Devin, and Taccara (Chanden); grandfather of Taryn. Brothers-in-law: Ronnie Moore (Helen), Michael Moore, Charles Humphrey, Ian Humphrey (Valerie); Aunts: Barbara Bing, Erma Mitchell, Melba J. Badger, Annie Westberry, Joyce Cusack; Grand Aunts: Hazel Cusack, Willie Mae Johnson; Uncle: Solomon Badger III (Julie); "Cuzuncle" (Cousing Uncle: Charles Anthony Cusack, Godparents: Rev. & Mrs. Willie Hagan, Godchildren: Maya Brown, Hamilton Tyler Thomas, Simeon Thomas, Juliana Hancock; Many Godbrothers & Godsisters including Lewis Temple, Jr., Mario Davis, Jack Starke, Robbye Gould, Jasmyne Mitchell, Lashonda Hill & many more. Musical mentors: Carnetta Odom, Lorraine Byner, Dorothy Bender, Patricia James-Bennett, Stanley Whitted. Nieces, nephews and a host of cousins, special "birthday buddies": Leigh Nesmith & Rev. Joyce Wright, friends, musical peers, funeral home staff and associates.
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