Richard W. Suscha
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Former Mayor Richard W. Suscha died Monday at St. Luke's Hospital, Milwaukee, WI of heart valve complications. Born on Aug. 26, 1936 to Ludwig and Lydia (Mertz) Suscha, Dick was 75 years old. He had very recently retired as a pharmacist from Aurora, Cedar Grove.
Dick graduated from Central High, class of l954 and was class president. He entered Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science and graduated in May of 1959. Dick proudly served his country in the U.S. Army Reserve in the 44th General Hospital Division. He owned the Medicine Chest Pharmacies, one in Sheboygan and one in Kiel WI. He was Sheboygan County Coroner from 1970-1974. Dick was elected mayor of Sheboygan and re-elected, serving 12 years as mayor, from 1973-1985. He returned to retail and clinic pharmacy in 1985 until present. He married Donna (Ewig) on June 20, 1964 and they have three sons: Richard G. (Renee) of Sheboygan, Christopher (Graham) of Nashville, TN., and Jason (Liz) of Indianapolis, IN. He is the very proud 'papa' to 9 grandchildren: Eric, Andrew, Adam, Alex, Connor, Caroline, Harlin, Anthony and Lidia. One grandson, Austin Ludwig, is deceased.
As mayor of the city of Sheboygan, Dick formulated city executive budgets, (note: school budgets were handled by the Council in those days), redeveloped the riverfront ( note: $580K for riverfront acquisition which was the biggest single item for (BCA) funding with 28 separate properties acquired and cleared) with the goal being removal of blight and the boardwalk was completed on the entire west side of the riverfront, and the Rotary Club donated Rotary Park. Downtown renewal (note: 100% paid by Federal Money) and the Library were also completed. His administration dealt with critical shoreline erosion, also built the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (note: 90% funded by Federal Funds - 5% State Funds - 5% City Funds. They added schools, fire stations, and an animal shelter and gave City Hall a facelift. He was responsible for Taylor Drive and the Industrial Park Expansion and by 1979 issued 42 Industrial Bonds totaling $155M. His administration left the Industrial Park 80% full - all good paying jobs. They began an 'all City' extensive street program and resolved it to be "on going" (later administrations discontinued the program) Four (4) bridges were replaced and 8th street bridge was renovated. Mayor Suscha and Mayor Dufek of Manitowoc fought long & hard for the "I" road to be located here rather than West at 57 which would have cut us both off from tourism. We were named "Tree City - USA" and it was resolved that NO parking lots would be built without 'green' space with shrubs or trees.
Remember during Mayor Suscha's terms there were outrageous interest rates 15 to 23% and gas prices soared much like today, there were difficult times throughout the nation. With finance people and planners who knew how to obtain money for projects without burdening the taxpayers, Sheboygan was a leader in the State. Mayor Suscha was well respected by Wisconsin Cities and was elected President of the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, President of Wisconsin Alliance of Cities, and Chairman of Bay-Lake Regional Plan Commission. He was a member of Kiwanis Club, District chairman of Boy Scouts, Vice President of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, on the Board of Directors Sheboygan Softball Association, and he was a "Big Brother". He had boat ramps installed and fish cleaning stations built. South Business Drive was completed only recently but the right of ways were purchased during Dick's term and scheduled for 1985.
Additional accomplishments Sheboygan is proud of:
-Wildwood Baseball Complex
-Maywood Park (donated to City with a stipulation it was to become a golf course. This was negotiated and we have a beautiful environmental park)
-Frisbee Golf Course at Vollrath Park
-Over $400,000 for park improvements-Evergreen, Moose, King, En, Cole, Sheridan, Deland,
-Bridge at Evergreen Park and with the J.C.'s a Pavilion at Kiwanis Park
-Lights for Tennis Courts
-Lakeview Park Up-date and pistol range
-Cable TV, Central Purchasing,
-Purchased Bus Line
-Concerts in the Park
-Established "Redevelopment Authority" -R. Pauls 1st head
-Mayor Suscha left the City with a Superior Bond Rating and only 10M indebtedness that would be paid off in 3 years
Dick is survived by his wife Donna and his sons , daughter-in-laws, and nine grandchildren. Also his brother and sister-in-laws: Carol Ewig, Eugene Ewig, Russ and Betty Anderson, Frank and Corinne Ewig and Dorothy Hoell . He is further survived by cousins, nephews and nieces and a dear family friend Maria.. He was preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws, a grandson, Austin, brother and sister-in-laws Paul & Virgel Leonard, Dori Ewig, Al Hoell, Jerry & Shirley Hickmann.
A Funeral Service will be held for Dick on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. at Zimmer's Westview Funeral & Cremation Care Center, W2132 Garton Road, Sheboygan (Hwy 42 and Cty Rd JJ). Pastors Alan D. Kubow and James L. Hartman will officiate. Private committal rites will be held at Gardens of Peace Mausoleum of Greenlawn Memorial Park. Friends may call on the Suscha family on Friday August 10, 2012 from 4 until 8 p.m. and on Saturday at Westview from 9:30 until the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial funds have been established to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or Big Brothers & Sisters in the name of Richard W. Suscha.
Dick was a man of integrity, with a huge heart, and never-ending love. He was a joy to all who knew him - he loved listening to Andrea Bocelli and was looking forward to doing a little fishing in his retirement.
Please visit www.zimmerfuneralhome.com for online condolences.
"Let all that you do - be done in love"
1 Corinthians 16:14 NRSV
Zimmer Westview Funeral Home
W2132 Garton Road Sheboygan, WI 53081
Published in Sheboygan Press from Aug. 8 to Aug. 9, 2012