Sunday, July 19, 2015
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
Monday, July 20, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
St. Joseph Catholic Church
936 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
A luncheon will follow in the church hall.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Joseph Catholic Church
936 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
John G. Sudeikis had a strong handshake and a gruff exterior, a meat and potatoes kind of guy. His kids called him crotchety, but they knew that on the inside he had a heart big enough to match his large frame. He was determined with a streak of perfectionism, and could be counted on to do his best for friends and family. His greatest joy was spending time with his precious wife and his children and grandchildren.
The year that found John A. and Anna Mary (Widutis) Sudeikis of Chicago, Illinois, waiting for their first child to be born was one of tragedy, mystery, and triumph. The Hindenburg disaster and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart brought heartbreak while the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge and the beginning of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s second term as president seemed to signify hope for a nation that was watching unnerving developments in Europe. John and Anna put off worry for a time when they welcomed their little bundle of boy, John, on November 8, 1937.
When John was four years old, he suddenly got a new little sister to pick on and protect. The next year, their father moved the family to a farm near the village of Gobles, Michigan, in an effort to keep them from being raised in the big city. John’s dad worked their farm and also was a machinist. John’s mother managed the home. There was plenty for a boy to do out in the country, and growing up, John loved playing outside with his dogs. As a young boy, John could hardly remember a time when he didn’t hear the grown ups talking and worrying about World War II. It was a great day in his almost-eight-year-old life when he heard that it was finally over and the soldiers would be coming home.
John was active in high school, playing baseball and basketball for the Gobles Tigers. He also participated in a few school plays. John graduated with the class of 1955. He then attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo for two years, majoring in paper technology. His studies were interrupted, however, when he received his draft notice from the U.S. Army. He elected to enlist in the Navy instead. John was sent to California for boot camp, then served in the South Pacific on a destroyer with gun fire-control technology. He was in active service for four years, then spent four years in the reserves.
When John returned from the service, he got a job with the Hercules Company, but he ended up finding more than just employment while working there. His boss lived across the street from a sweet young lady named Gladys Murphy, a graduate of Nazareth Nursing School. John and Gladys grew close and started dating. John eventually asked his sweetheart to be his wife, and they exchanged vows on August 28, 1965. They were married at St. Joseph Church in Kalamazoo. For their honeymoon, they spent the weekend up north and then went back to work on Monday. A few years later, they purchased the home that would be the place where they would spend the rest of their lives building their family together.
John found new employment with Bell Telephone, eventually known as AT&T, in 1965. There were many years of technological and corporate changes, including a few company name changes, and through them all, John remained a faithful and hardworking employee until his retirement in 1995. He and Gladys were thrilled to welcome their firstborn child and the three who followed made John all the more proud and happy. He attended their sporting events and took them on family vacations. They regularly went camping in their pop-up camper and later got a motor home. They camped all over Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula. The more remote the location, the better it was for John.
John had a heart for helping others and was a member of the Elks and the Moose Lodge. He served as a deputy sheriff for thirteen years and rode the night shift for them. He always made sure he had time for his own family, making holidays and dinners together a priority despite a busy schedule. His favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. There was nothing better than a great meal with his family, maybe followed by a shot of whiskey and a draw from his ever-present pipe.
Besides spending time with his family, John’s favorite way to use his free time was doing anything in the out-of-doors. When he was younger, he liked bow and rifle hunting as well as fishing year round and competing in Lake Michigan fishing contests. He fished a lot with the priest from St. Joseph’s. He enjoyed archery and bowling, and won several trophies in trap shooting. He also enjoyed snowmobiling and snowshoeing. In later years, John traded in his rifle for a camera. He had an eye for composition and eventually ran a side business taking wedding and school photos. He enjoyed sharing his photos and slides with family and friends, particularly his pictures from the F3 tornado that struck downtown Kalamazoo in 1980. He had a developing lab in his basement and took great pleasure in watching his work unfold before his own eyes.
In retirement, he picked up woodworking as a hobby and had a natural talent for it. He took some classes, but mostly he could look at a magazine photo and figure out how to make what he wanted. Among his creations were an amazing nativity set and some remarkable little birds. He kept at it until dialysis prevented him from using his hands anymore. He liked to watch HGTV and “Rehab Addict” on the DIY Network. He also got a kick out of “The Red Green Show.”
John will be missed as a source of strength and comfort among his loved ones, but he does not leave them empty-handed. They will always know that he loved them more than his own life and his example of serving others will continue to guide and inspire those who knew him best.
After struggling with kidney failure for over five years, John died at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Mary Woods Sudeikis; and by his sister, Mary Ann Nolan. Surviving are his wife of fifty years, Gladys Sudeikis; four children: Barbara Sudeikis, Margaret Sudeikis, John Sudeikis, Jr., and Mary (Arthur) Cordova; and five grandchildren: Kaylee, Andrea, Marisa, John, and James.
Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Sunday, July 19, 2015, from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, 375-2900. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, July 20, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Cremation will take place with private burial at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Please visit John’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church or West Michigan Cancer Center.