Chief Petty Officer Master-At-Arms Shawn Peter Luiz US Navy Retired
Jan. 4, 1972 — July 15, 2022
If our love could have saved Shawn, he would have lived forever.
It is with profound grief that we share that on July 15, 2022, after an eight-month battle with cancer, Shawn Peter Luiz left this world at the age of 50.
Shawn was born on Jan. 4, 1972, in Modesto, Calif. Raised on a cattle ranch in Vernalis, population 400, he attended New Jerusalem Elementary School and graduated from Duncan Russell High School in 1990.
He loved riding horses and exploring the foothills around the ranch. By the age of 6, Shawn was working cattle alongside his family. Shawn could outride any man on the ranch, except for his uncle Tim, though I am sure he convinced us many times he really was the best. As he grew up, Shawn traded horses for guitars and eventually, guitars for bicycles. Cycling was the passion that transformed Shawn into the strong, vibrant man his family loved and respected
Shawn surprised everyone when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1991 at the age of 19. He spent the next 22 years traveling the world. Shawn loved being a sailor — going from fireman recruit to Navy chief prior to retirement, an accomplishment of which he was most proud.
A decorated combat veteran, Shawn never shied away from adventure. The Navy took him from his small hometown to duty stations in Japan, Hawaii, Guam, Italy, and San Diego.
He was assigned to the USS McClusky FFG-41 when it ported in Vladivostok in the Russian Federation, the first American ship to do so since the fall of the Soviet Union. As part of the Maritime Expeditionary Security Force in Guam, he participated in military operations that took him from Thailand to the jungles of the Philippines. He participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where, for six months, he guarded Khor Al Amaya and Al Basrah Oil Terminals, and he conducted operations in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Shawn's life changed forever when a friend convinced him to go to Thailand when they were on leave. He never imagined he would find the love of his life there. He married Chotirote Thnomsakyut on May 19, 1995. She never left his side, relocating from San Diego to Northern California with him after his diagnosis to seek treatment closer to his family.
Shawn was a great patriot and was proud to have served his country. After retiring, Shawn traveled the U.S. and visited every state, except Alaska. Montana was among his favorites, saying there was no place in that state he wouldn't live. In Rhode Island, his 49th state, finally satisfied with his travels, he went home.
He and Chotriote made their home in San Diego, where he was a high-risk tactical weapons instructor for ITA International LLC, a company to whom we are incredibly grateful for their support of Shawn after his diagnosis.
Shawn transitioned from this world to the next in the comfort of his youngest sister, Amy’s, Tracy home. Chotirote, Amy and his good friend, Mike Busevac, were by his side.
Shawn is also survived by his wife Chotirote, their beloved dogs, Sookie, Roo, Aussie, and Dusty; his mother and stepfather, Dianne and Andy Rustan of Tracy; sisters Candice Terry (Anthony) of Gustine, Holly Luiz of Ewa Beach, HI, and Amy Luiz (Mike Busevac) of Tracy; nieces Halia and Ashlynn Lewis of Tracy, Alana Romualdo (Emily Rathwaedht) of Los Angeles; and nephew Kainalu Romualdo of Ewa Beach. Additional survivors include aunts Judy Malloy, Jill Manzo (Sal), Mary McNulty, Lorraine Cardoza (Thom) and many cousins.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Pete and Glenna Truitt; Uncles Tim Malloy and Kenneth Luiz; Aunts Joyce Massey and Debbie Luiz; stepsister Susan Brasher and her husband Tim; cousins Michael Massey, Charlie and Erin Malloy, and Lori Murashige; his father-in-law Chot Thnomsakyut and aunty Linda.
Shawn was the glue that held his family together. He was their “Switzerland”, a safe place of refuge and he made everyone in his family feel special, as if they were each his favorite.
In honor of Shawn, the family asks that you support burn pit legislation. Shawn didn’t die in Iraq but Iraq killed him. His cancer was considered presumptive by Veterans Affairs who openly admit it was related to his military service. The increase in certain types of cancers have increased 96% in veterans from 2000-2018. If you have been exposed to oil platforms, burn pits or particulate matter please see your doctor regularly. If you served with Shawn on KAAOT please, please be diligent with your health.
Shawn personally supported Code of Vets, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention for U.S. military veterans that also provides immediate short-term financial aid to veterans in need. In lieu of flowers, please visit www.codeofvets.com and consider making a gift in Shawn's memory. A celebration of life in Shawn’s memory will be held at a later date.
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