Like many of you, I was shocked and saddened by the news of Bruce Sucher’s death on Friday.
Sucher, the President of the Vandalia-Butler Board of Education, passed away unexpectedly just minutes prior to the University of Dayton’s A-10 tournament game in Pittsburgh.
I didn’t have the decades of history knowing Bruce as many of my readers have, but I’m grateful that Bruce and I became friends over the past few years.
Over the past few days I’ve heard many stories about Bruce from his days as a Vandalia Police Officer, Police Chief, and reluctant City Manager – the longest serving City Manager that Vandalia has ever had.
My friendship with Bruce is much shorter, only beginning with his election to the Board of Education in 2013. He came onto the board during a tough time – the district was facing significant financial and public relations problems.
Bruce, along with the new Superintendent, Brad Neavin, helped steady the ship and renewed confidence that the board, and the school district, were once again heading in the right direction.
Bruce didn’t use an iron fist or a strong arm to lead – he didn’t need to. His practicality and common sense, coupled with a smile and a twinkle in the eye, let people know their city, their police department, or their school district were in good hands.
His legacy is all over the city of Vandalia – from the Recreation Center, the Justice Center, his countless hours of service in various civic groups, and the school district. His contributions to this community cannot be overstated. There was no more passionate advocate for Vandalia’s police department or its students and school district.
Just days before his death I spoke to Bruce. He had served as a judge in the Optimist Club Essay Contest which I chaired. He called me to say he couldn’t make the lunch where the awardees were recognized due to a scheduling snafu. He was upset because he wanted to thank the students for entering and apologized more than once.
That was the Bruce Sucher this community has come to know and respect over the past three decades – a humble man who loved the community he served.
I am grateful for the opportunity to call him friend.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.