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Thursday, December 15, 2022
4:00 - 6:00pm (Eastern time)
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Michael Robert Sudzina, 75, of Daniel Island, SC, left this earth peacefully and with dignity on December 6, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. Mike is survived by his bride of 52 years, Dr. Mary Sudzina, their daughters Christine Sudzina Schut and Suzanne Sudzina Brandon, sons-in-law Dr. Jaap Schut and Dr. M. Stephen Brandon, Jr., and grandchildren Jameson Schut, Timo Schut, and Emerson Brandon. He also leaves behind his beloved Dalmatian, Woofman Jack. He was preceded in death by his parents Michael and Elizabeth Sudzina, and his sister Mary Ann Baldwin.
Born in Metuchen, NJ, on September 5, 1947, Mike, also known as “Suds”, was picked as a 1st team All State Football player in high school and was recruited to, and attended, Bucknell University. At Bucknell, Mike joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity and was involved with, and volunteered for, many fraternity sponsored charitable events, spurring his lifelong passion and pursuit of service to others. During his junior year of college, Mike joined the United States Marine Corps (Oorah!) and successfully completed the Platoon Leader Class program at Quantico, VA, being commissioned upon graduating from college in 1969 as a 2nd Lieutenant. Upon completing Basic School and Artillery School in 1970, Mike received orders for Vietnam and was assigned to the 1st Marine Wing and was put in command of Tango Security at the Danang Airbase. In 1971 he was redeployed to Iwakuni, Japan, where he continued his tour. Mike was discharged from active duty in 1972 and remained in the inactive reserves; he was honorably discharged in 1977 at the rank of Captain. Mike’s service to his country and inclusion in the Marine Corps brotherhood was an enduring source of honor and pride; Once a Marine, always a Marine.
Upon being discharged from active duty in 1972, Mike began his illustrious career at Procter & Gamble as a sales rep in the Professional Services Division while completing his MBA at Temple University. His unparalleled work ethic, product knowledge, and management and leadership skills resulted in subsequent promotions to Zone Manager, District Manager, and eventually to the Director of Professional and Scientific Relations for Oral Care in 1996. Mike worked with - and became an honorary member of - the American Dental Association (where he was on several committees and served as VP of the ADA Foundation), and The American Dental Education Association (where he served as a VP for the Association and the Corporate Council, and sat on the advisory boards of Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of Kentucky, Boston University, the University of Southern Illinois, and Western University Dental School). He was also involved with the American Academy of Periodontology, the International and American Associations of Dental Research as well as the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. Mike enjoyed and thrived on working to connect researchers and thought leaders to advance dental health worldwide.
His influence and footprint on the dental community was immense, resulting in being awarded numerous honors and Presidential Citations for outstanding dedication, achievements and service to the American Dental Association, the American Dental Education Association, the American Association of Dental Schools, the Academy of General Dentistry’s Foundation and the International and American Associations for Dental Research, as well as receiving a Corporate Leadership award from the New York State Dental Foundation. In 2010, Mike was awarded the ADEA William J. Gies Award for Vision, Innovation and Achievement; one of the highest honors for oral health and dental education.
In 2008, Mike retired from P&G and began to pursue his passion projects: volunteering at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, and becoming a Rotarian.
At Patriots Point, Mike spent his time working in the Collections Department, giving tours, and supporting work on the Vietnam Support Base Experience. Additionally, he was the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Co-founder of the USS Yorktown Foundation, which focuses on educating visitors on patriotism, honor, and the sacrifice demonstrated by veterans. For his dedication and hard work, Mike was named the Patriots Point Distinguished Volunteer of the Year for 2020.
Mike also took particular joy in facilitating opportunities, giving back to the community and helping others to advance and succeed. A man of action, Mike joined the Rotary Club of Daniel Island in 2008 so he could do just that. Mike selflessly worked behind the scenes to make things happen, including being an integral part of the planning and execution of the annual Duck Race, and countless community service events. He would go on to become a Paul Harris Fellow, earn Rotarian of the Year and serve as Rotary Club President in 2015.
A titan among men, Mike was beloved and revered by all who had the good fortune to work with him, but as accomplished as he was in the business community, Mike considered his family to be his greatest achievement. He married the love of his life, partner, and best friend, Mary, in 1970 and considered it to be the single greatest decision of his life. Together they traveled the world, raised a family, supported each other’s dreams, and laughed and loved each day. He was a proud father, coach and mentor to their two daughters, and delighted in their success and happiness. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than watching his daughters have families of their own, and being “Pika” to his three adoring grandchildren.
Mike was a guy’s guy; he had a larger than life personality, and brought out the best in all who knew him. He worked hard and played hard; he was the first one to offer help when and where it was needed, and the first one on the dance floor at every party. He was witty, charming, funny and FUN! A kid at heart, Mike never outgrew his love of cars, planes and naval warships and his knowledge about every make and model was unparalleled. He loved to fly and earned his pilot’s license in 1987; he loved showing his 1964 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible, Bonnie, and cruising to the oldies on a beautiful day with his best girl by his side. Perhaps most of all, he loved his morning ritual of reading the newspaper over a cup of coffee alongside Mary, with a dog at his feet next to a warm fire. He found the fun and good in every situation and lived his life with gratitude, and without regrets.
When asked how he would like to be remembered, Mike humbly replied, “Good Husband, Good Father, Honorable Man.” All who knew him would agree, his work here is done.
An open visitation will be held Thursday, December 15th, from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Church of the Holy Cross on Daniel Island located at 299 Sevens Farms Drive, Charleston, SC 29492.
A private funeral mass will be held on Friday, December 16th, by invitation only.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony for Mike Sudzina will be held on Saturday, February 4th, aboard the USS Yorktown CV-10 at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum followed by a reception at the Daniel Island Club for family and friends. More details to come.
Please consider making a donation to the USS Yorktown Foundation via the website: www.ussyorktownfoundation.org, the Wounded Warrior Project via the website: www.woundedwarriorproject.org or a charity of your choosing.