Nantucket - William Susetka's story didn't end on May 11, 2021 at 68. A gift to this world, his kind, compassionate, generous nature will continue to serve as a role model for those who knew and loved him. Besides his family and numerous friends, his passions were golf, coin collecting, Saratoga horse races, and hosting parties. No one at his annual New Year's Eve bashes will forget him dressing up as Michael Jackson's Billy Jean, wrapping himself in a sheet for John Belushi's toga party or impersonating Johnny Carson as Karnak the Magnificent. Witty, smart and creative, in later years he enjoyed writing and singing song parodies for anyone who would listen. Some of his favorites were: "On the Course Again" (Willie Nelson), "Mr. Bill You've Got a Lovely Quarter" (Herman's Hermits), and "Mr. Songman" (Chordettes).
Bill was an inspirational leader as demonstrated by his success at Clairol, Avon, Nice-Pak, LPGA and on the Board of Helen of Troy. He cared deeply, not just about the business, but about people. Many have submitted that he was the best boss they ever had. Honest and loyal, one of his favorite sayings, which he lived by, was "Do the right thing even if no one is looking." When faced with difficult decisions, his peers would often consider, "What would Bill do?"
He met the love of his life, Steph, in college and together they shared 45 years of marriage; a son, Brian (wife Jessica); a daughter, Julianne (husband Andrew), and adorable granddaughter, Kennedy. He treasured every member of his extended family – sisters Judy Baluha and Barb Walsh; wild and crazy brothers-in-law Bill Humphreys, Ken Viafore, John Morgan, John Walsh and Harry Herrick; sisters-in law Kris Herrick and Suzie Morgan, and all his nieces and nephews. He always had a smile, an encouraging word and made you feel like you were the most important person in the world, listening and offering advice without judgment. He drew friends from all aspects of his life – besides his business associates, they came from grade school at St. Cecilia's, high school at Stamford Catholic, college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia Business School, golf buddies at Westchester Hills, and while living in Pound Ridge, New York, summering on Nantucket, on assignment in England and most recently after retiring to Hammock Dunes, Florida. He was the kind of guy everyone wanted to be with. He was charismatic and funny with a calm, happy confidence and a winning smile.
Besides Bill's accomplishments in business, he was successful in sports, having played on the Stamford World Champion Babe Ruth baseball team, varsity baseball and basketball teams at RPI and attained a single digit handicap in golf. He was also an Academic All-American in college. Even with these achievements, he was humble and reveled in other's triumphs.
Despite a brain tumor diagnosis in 2011, he was never resentful or complained, and continued to be an inspiration encouraging us all to "Seize the Day." He completed most if not all of his bucket list with trips to South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Nova Scotia, and rounds of golf on five continents. His final year was spent on Nantucket with a steady flow of family and friends, along with added support from TT to whom we are most grateful. Letters of love and friendship arrived regularly, which he enjoyed reading over and over.
Bill was predeceased and will be joined in Heaven by his parents, Frank and Nancy Susetka; in-laws, Connie and Milla Lehto; sister Mary Humphreys; sister-in-law and Scrabble competitor, Karin Viafore; and brother-in-law Rich Baluha. At the races in the sky will be his long-time friend, Mike Kenny, and on the course, his member-member golf partner, Rick Hayes. They will be as happy to see him and share a gin and tonic, as those left behind are sad to see him go.
Burial will be private at Prospect Hill Cemetery on Nantucket. A memorial service will be held at The Church of St. Cecilia in Stamford, Connecticut on Friday, June 25th at 10:30 am, a Celebration of Life will be held at Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations should be sent to the "Bill Susetka Memorial Scholarship Fund" which is within the Stamford Peace Youth Foundation, 925 Long Ridge Road, Stamford, CT 06903 or via it's website at www.peaceyouthct.org
Arrangements under the direction of Chapman Funerals & Cremations, John-Lawrence Chapel, 3778 Falmouth Rd., Marstons Mills, MA. www.chapmanfuneral.com
Published by Stamford Advocate on May 13, 2021.