Gerald Booth Lusteg did it all.
He played minor league baseball, participated in three different American football leagues, was ranked No. 11 in the United States Tennis Association’s Men’s 40 Division, and even made his high school hall of fame for his performance on the basketball court.
Lusteg, who died last Thursday at 73, led the American Football League in kick scoring during his first season with the Buffalo Bills. He moved onto the Miami Dophins’ roster the next season and made every extra point he kicked. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
Lusteg, who lived in Plantation, was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2009.
“He was a fighter, never complained, never shed a tear,” his daughter Lisa Lusteg Bennett said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better dad. I’m very very proud of him. He inspired me; he motivated me.”
Bennett recalled a time at a tennis tournament when an old man collapsed on the sidewalk and Lusteg rushed over and performed CPR to revive him.
In later life, Lusteg directed his focus on his faith. He was ordained and preached in ministries about self-motivation and determination. These were themes in his 2002 autobiography, Kick Rejection...and Win! He found a way to merge his two passions by creating Kicking for Christ, a nonprofit camp for underpriviledged youth.
Lusteg majored in psychology and mathematics at the University of Connecticut and later also received his master’s in number theory. He also had a real estate license.
Bennett said Lusteg received fan mail every couple weeks. The most important letter, addressed to “Gooster,” came from his granddaughter and Bennett’s daughter, Linae, despite her living five minutes away. Inside the letter was a lock of her hair.
Before Lusteg died, Bennett said he wanted to be buried with that lock.
“Once he loved you, he loved you strong and hard,” she said.
Services will be 6 p.m. Friday at Forest Lawn Funeral Home North in Pompano Beach. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday.