Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Tony Suminski, would agree that there was no one like him. He was hardworking yet made the time for others and was always willing to help in any way he could. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, he was the rock of his family through both good times and bad, although, Tony always said Carol was his rock. It was easy to see that he was married to the love of his life, and together Tony and Carol exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be. When someone referred to Tony, it was always Tony and Carol – and it will always remain that way. Life will never be the same without Tony here, but he leaves his indelible imprint on our hearts and on our souls – his legacy, his laugh, his smile – and his “Suminski Kiss” will live on in future generations.
Born October 6, 1934 to Germain and Catherine (Skiba) Suminski , the youngest of 13 children. Tony was welcomed with open hearts and open arms. The family couldn't have been happier... He joined... Martin, Frank, Paul, Andrew, Catherine, Edward, Bernadine, Germain, Jerome, Peter, Virginia and Joseph.
Raised in the family home at 1219 East Kane Place on the Eastside of Milwaukee, with a little cottage in back, Tony was a typical young boy. His father was an undertaker while his mother was a homemaker.
Tony enjoyed going up the block to the toy rental store to play with a different toy every day. It was the fun of going, the experience, the adventure – to see what he could get those little hands on that day.
Tony enjoyed the simple pleasures. Spending time outdoors, just playing, swimming in the Milwaukee River, it was clean back then, even skating it in the dead of winter – late night hours, and summer days spent at Pulaski Park. All he had to do was climb the fence, and let the fun begin! He was athletic, and he enjoyed sports, including baseball and basketball – he was an active young boy. When he was ready to go home, and sometimes when it was time to go home, even if he wasn’t ready – he knew that he would be greeted with the fresh aroma of his mom’s baking of paczkis and other delicious treats. They surely put a smile on his face and warmed his heart.
Tony was raised with values – Faith, Family, Integrity – values he lived by his entire life – and values he one day instilled in his children. Throughout his life, his faith, and Polish Catholic heritage was extremely important to him. He attended St. Hedwig Grade School and Marquette High School, graduating in 1953. Tony developed a love for music from his sister Brenda who he joined on Saturday afternoons listening to the Opera.
It was while at a classmate’s birthday party that Tony’s life was to forever change. A certain young lady, and her friend were also invited to that party – to this day, she doesn’t know why – but she is forever grateful that they attended. And we know who that is – Carol Schmidt – 16 years old – a student at Messmer High School. She and Tony didn’t even talk that Friday night. It wasn’t until Monday at school when talking around the lunch table, that his name came up. Her friend Yvonne asked, “Who did you like at the party?”, Carol’s reply, “That Tony Suminski was pretty cute”. Of course, the rest is history. They spent 61 years as a married couple, but a lifetime in love.
Their first date was at the drive-in movie theatre. During their five- year courtship, they enjoyed wonderful times together , bowling, movies & dances.
A wedding was planned in May of 1957. However, the wedding was moved up to January 26, 1957, since Tony was drafted into the Army. They were married at St. Elizabeth Church, with 14 inches of snow on the ground and an outdoor temperature of -8 degrees. Tony had given his mom freedom to invite whoever she wanted – and boy did she ever! They had such a wonderful time. After a honeymoon spent in Bermuda, Tony entered the Army on February 27, 1957. They spent basic training in Fort Carson, Colorado, and Tony was later transferred to a Nike Missile Site in Woburn, Massachusetts. They welcomed their first son Robert, in March of 1958.
With his military duties fulfilled, they moved back to Milwaukee. In 1961 Richard was born. Tony was working for United Airlines at the time and soon decided to go back to school attending M.S.O.E.
Tony worked as a computer systems analyst at the executive offices in Elk Grove, Illinois. The family moved to Wildwood, Illinois, where their daughter Lisa was born in 1969, he was so happy – she was and always will be, the apple of his eye.
Tony always took an active role in all that they did… loving, supporting and guiding. Stepping in when they needed and stood back to watch them grow. He and Carol attended their sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, dance recitals and gymnastic tournaments – no matter what – they were there for their children. He even went to rock concerts with his kids – he was the coolest guy there!
Family was important to both Tony and Carol, and they wanted to remain closely connected while his position required him to be in Illinois. He worked at United Airlines for 43 years, and during that time – the two of them were able to go on many wonderful trips, even a daytrip to Massachusetts for a lobster dinner. In 1999, Tony retired and was surprised with a wonderful send off! Tony and a friend were waiting for Carol to pick him up. They see a limo approaching, and Tony said, “Look, they’re coming for the Big Wigs”. Much to his surprise, it was Carol and the rest of the family. In so many ways, he was and always will be their “Big Wig”.
They decided to move back to Wisconsin and settle in Twin Lakes. There they enjoyed many activities such as, swimming, fishing, boating and golfing at Twin Lakes Country Club and skiing at Wilmot Mountain.
As his children married and the Suminski family began to grow, Tony began the most joyous years of his life in full retirement. His grandchildren filled his heart with pure joy. Their first grandson, Alex, was born in 1990. A beautiful dark- haired precious boy, who stole their hearts. Alex was born with special needs and Lisa with her nursing skills, helped care for him. After Alex, came Sam, and then Ian. Natalie born in 1995 – a sweet, beautiful granddaughter – one he was recently honored to see walk down the aisle. Lisa and Brian continued the family tree with Austin, Anthony (Antknee), and Aidan. The entire family, lovingly welcomed Stephanie, Daisy and Dylan.
He and Carol attended the grandchildren’s sporting events, dances, recitals – anything they could do to stay active and a part of their lives. They never sat on the sidelines – God blessed them with these grandchildren – and they couldn’t have been loved more! When Alex moved to Chileda in LaCrosse, the entire family participated in the annual fund-raising walk/run, which was one of Tony’s greatest sources of pride and joy. Imagine their reunion, Alex and Tony – Alex running to his grandpa’s arms, spending eternity together, and waiting for other family members to join them.
Tony and Carol enjoyed time spent traveling. After her first flight experience, amid a thunderstorm, he turned to a friend and said, “She’ll never fly again”. Instead – she asked for luggage for her next birthday – and the adventures continued. For years they spent winters in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, initially invited by Ginny & Dick, the annual gathering spread throughout the Suminski Family – with couples joining as they were able. Golfing, dinners, dancing, sightseeing, and chilling out around the beach with family and the new friends that Tony made with ease.
During retirement Tony and Carol started cruising and were fortunate to be able to visit many unique places including the Panama Canal, Vancouver, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Bermuda, Western Europe, Mediterranean, Hawaii, Canada/New England, Central America, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, and England. Of all their travels, the two of them found Australia and The Great Barrier Reefs to be the most awe inspiring.
Family was always most important to Tony and some of their best memories were made at their Thanksgiving and Christmas parties and the family picnics. In 1975, for the first time, the Suminski Family Annual Picnic was going to be held in a park. To this day, the picnic is something that the whole family looks forward to, as it is a time to see one another. It was important to Grandma Suminski that the family continue to come together… and during the picnic it wasn’t uncommon for Uncle Joe to sing a song – or the family to sing, “The More We Get Together, The Happier We’ll be”. Tony was usually the last one to leave, spreading his love, smile, warm heart… but he was always willing to tap a cold beer for anyone who asked. And at the end of the picnic, when the last beer was tapped - Tony was thrilled if he was able to leave with one of Judy’s Pineapple Upside Down Cakes.
With a contagious zest for life, Tony was a man of many interests. He loved to fish, golf, and spend time with family and friends. A Green Bay Packer season ticket holder since 1950, sitting in the bleacher seats at Milwaukee County Stadium and then Lambeau Field, The Tundra. Even near the end, Tony was watching the Packers, and was able to see Miller Park from his hospital bed. Tony enjoyed the morning paper, especially the sports page, but he wouldn’t read it if they didn’t win. An avid sports fan, he also cheered on the Brewers, Badgers, and Golden Eagles, but who he cheered for the most, were the people he loved in all they did. Always, the biggest fan of his children and grandchildren and those he loved – especially Carol, his rock!
A selfless man of integrity, a man of his word – a man who made a difference in the lives of so many.
Anthony Jerome Suminski died peacefully, August 10, 2018 – surrounded by love, surrounded by light, with his family at his side - just as he lived his life. Tony is the beloved and devoted husband for sixty-one years of Carol A. Suminski (nee Schmidt). Cherished and loving father of Robert (Traci) Suminski, Richard (Lisa) Suminski, and Lisa (Brian) Gregg. Proud, joyful and loving participant in the lives of his grandchildren, the late Alex, Samuel, Ian, Teran, Natalie (Chris), Austin, Brynn, Anthony, Stephanie, Aidan, Dylan and Daisy. Dear brother of Germain (Patricia). Preceded in death by his other siblings: Martin and Florence, Andrew and Dorothy, Bernadine, Edward and Nona, Peter (Sophie), Paul and Josephine, Frank and Lorraine, Jerome and Colleen, Virginia and Dick Proft, Catherine and Tony Maiorana and Joseph (Phyllis) Suminski. Dear brother-in-law of Robert (Karen) Schmidt, the late Richard (the late Diane) Schmidt and the late Nancy (Phil) Currier. Further survived by nieces, nephews, and many other relatives and friends.
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