Remembering Bob Suchy …..

February 13, 2010 |

It’s never easy to sit down and summarize someone’s life in the form of written words …..

It’s even more challenging to write those very words about someone you’ve never met or followed from any perspective. But, today, I’m doing it and I can only hope that my efforts broach the tip of Bob Suchy’s fulfilled life of goodness.

My friend, Mark Suchy and I came to WNST together – as strangers who share a love for sports. Over the last three years, we’ve built a pretty nice relationship. He’s a good man; a gentleman, and I know he’s absorbed an extraordinary share of pain and loss – in differering forms, over the past couple years.

When I heard Mark’s dad passed away, earlier in the week, I reached out to see how he was doing. As I’ve said, he’s my friend, and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to support him through such a difficult time.

Losing a parent is one of the hardest things we’ll endure, because a huge part of us dies, too. It’s a natural life occurence – we’re supposed to outlive our parents. But, this very sobering and common life reality is a heartbreaking experience.

During our conversation, I found Mark to be “at peace” with this loss. He related his dad’s good nature and generous soul, while expressing nary a doubt whether such a decent man was in his heaven. I’m pretty certain Mark was reassuring and comforting me during the conversation.

In fact, as we talked, I learned a few enlightening things about his dad. I would say EVERYTHING makes much more sense now. Heck, we should’ve had this talk THREE YEARS AGO.

That’s right, it would’ve explained a few of my friend’s diehard allegiances.

I’ve just assumed Mark’s obsession with the University of Maryland had some twisted attraction to Gary Williams, Ralph Friedgen or Bobby Ross. In all seriousness, Mark has a distinctly heartstrung reason for loving the Terps …..

His dad was a National Champion.
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That’s right, Bob Suchy was a member of the 1953 Maryland Terrapins – National Championship Football Team. He participated in two Orange Bowls, as the Terps faced the University of Oklahoma. The Terps lost both games – as Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners were enjoying a 48 game winning streak.

In fact, Bob was a National Champion – TWICE. He was a member of the 1955 Maryland Terrapins – National Championship Lacrosse Team. To this day, it remains the only undefeated lacrosse squad in University of Maryland history.

Bob Suchy lived as a Terp. Mark Suchy was a proud son. It all makes sense now.

However, what really impresses me is Mark’s humble disposition – especially as it regards college sports and working at a sports talk radio station. I’ve never heard Mark brag of his dad’s sports legend. I’ve never heard him defend a stance by pointing out his family’s pedigree.

That’s humility.

But, I get it. Trust me, in my own personal way, I really get it.

For the past decade, I think we’ve all endured episodes of faux patriotism paraded before our eyes and shoved down our throats. Everyone has an opinion and respective accountability. I’m amazed at some disturbing, pompous boasting of self heroics. Yet, I’ve never really exposed a very “personal” part of my life …..

I was born on my dad’s birthday, in 1967. He never saw or held me until I was nearly a year old. He was on the other side of the world.

My dad was a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, and served in Vietnam. He was critically debilitated during his tour – losing his entire left pectoral in combat. My dad never talks about it – and we never talk about it.

I’m proud to be his son. But, I don’t use his record of service as ammunition for arguments. And, I understand why Mark Suchy doesn’t boast about his dad’s CHAMPIONSHIP RESUME’. Do you know how many guys would vicariously live their lives through such credentials?

At heart, this really tells me that Mark sees his dad as much more than an accomplished athlete.

As Mark tells it, Bob Suchy was BALTIMORE.

He attended Loyola High School, where he lettered in football, under Ed Hargaden …..
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During his time at the University of Maryland, Bob earned a degree in Civil Engineering. He went on to establish a successful career-long business, as CEO of Atlantic Caisson; a locally based industrial contruction company.

Bob celebrated 52 blessed years of marriage with his wife, Ginger, and they had three sons; John, Mark and Luke.

I must assume Bob’s love for sports was conveyed upon his sons, and especially Mark. As I look back on Tuesday’s conversation, Mark related his dad’s love for our local sports franchises. Mark said, “dad made sure we had lifelong experiences – he brought us up right.” I’ll imagine Bob is greatly responsible for Mark’s love of this …..
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For many of us, it’s hard to really sum up how truly special a DAD can make our lives. They’re the foundation of “who” and “what” we grow up to be …..

Yet, just four short nights after his dad suddenly passed away, Mark really wrapped it up with three intimately impacting words. He said, “my dad was the dearest, sweetest, kindest man I have ever been honored to know.

Bob’s life will be celebrated during a service, this morning. And, while Mark and the Suchy family begin to accept and heal from their loss, they’ll find a few daily anecdotes to suggest Bob’s ever-living presence.

You think I’m kidding? Heck, Mark is absolutely, positively convinced his dad (from a vantage point above) was instrumentally involved in this Peyton Manning “touchdown pass” last Sunday …..
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I’ve thought about it for a few days, and it’s been kinda bewildering to deduct why Mark never bragged about his dad’s respective sports accomplishments. At WNST, we’re an informal family of ego-driven sports junkies. We think our opinions are the most valid.

So, why doesn’t Mark qualify his sports-related statements and assertions with some reliance on a “champion’s source” within his own family? Why doesn’t he self-righteously promote his dad’s Terrapins tenure?

I think the answer is pretty simple.

Bob Suchy was much more than an athlete. He was much more than a business professional. Now, I get it …..
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He was a CHAMPION OF FAMILY.

God bless ya, Bob.

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