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Celebrating Jim Lusk’s Legacy at Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) community specifically, mourns the loss of James Buckner Lusk, a cherished local figure and a long-time friend of TVRM. Known for his dedicated service and role as a beloved Santa, James also contributed to TVRM with his unique “Turntable Talks.” James passed away on April 5, 2024, at the age of 76, leaving behind a legacy filled with warmth, service, and rich storytelling.

Who was James Buckner Lusk? Born on November 5, 1947, James Lusk was a man of many talents and passions. After serving in the United States Army and a fulfilling career with Ryder Truck Lines, James found joy in retirement by engaging with the community in unique ways. At TVRM, he became known for his captivating Turntable tours, where he would explain the workings of the locomotives with a mixture of technical expertise and personal anecdotes. His description of the historical steam engine, No. 630, built in 1904 by the American Locomotive Company, was a favorite among visitors. He detailed its operations and mechanics, bringing the history of railroading to life for listeners of all ages.

What made James Lusk’s Turntable Talks special? During his talks, James had a knack for making technical details accessible and entertaining. He would often start with how the turntable operates, explaining, “we’ll show you how we turn it around,” and delve into the specifics of the locomotive, like its coal tender that holds 10,000 gallons of water and 16 tons of coal. His humorous quips, such as “you get another day older and deeper in debt,” added a personal touch that resonated with his audiences, making each session memorable.

How can the community remember James Lusk? James’s life will be celebrated at Calvary Bible Church on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. His contributions to TVRM and the local community are immeasurable. In remembrance of his generous spirit, the family has suggested donations to A Soldier’s Child Foundation, reflecting his continued commitment to service. Those wishing to honor his memory can also visit TVRM, where his spirit and stories continue to inspire every guest.

In addition to his detailed knowledge of the trains at TVRM, Jim will be remembered for his ability to connect with people through his stories and the joy he brought to his role as Santa. His legacy at TVRM and within the community will undoubtedly be cherished for many years to come.

Support the Legacy of Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: Your donation today can make a world of difference in preserving the rich heritage and continued success of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM). Donate now and be a part of our journey as we steam ahead into a promising future.