Thursday, September 11, 2014

Made in Wisconsin: Bob Suter

Wisconsin is in mourning as I write this post. On September 9, 2014, Robert Allen Suter passed away suddenly of an apparent heart attack in Middleton. His funeral will be held in a stadium in Madison (the Alliant Energy Center) on Saturday, September 13 because no Lutheran church in the area could possibly hold the amount of people expected to attend.

Bob Suter was born on May 16, 1957 in Madison, Wisconsin. He grew up on the blue-collar East Side of that city, as did I. He attended Madison East High School, as did I. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church on the East Side, as was I.

He attended, as I later would, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and played hockey for the Badgers in 1977, a year in which they won the NCAA National Championship.

Bob Suter made it on to the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team. Now, back then, the Soviets essentially ran a professional team that got to play in the Olympics because they technically were not disqualified by being officially professional players. And the United States assembled its team from college players with considerably less experience than their Soviet counterparts.

We were mighty proud that two Madisonians, Mark Johnson and Bob Suter, were on that team. We on the East Side of Madison were understandably particularly proud that an East Sider represented our country in that venue.

And we watched live and on pins and needles as they played the Soviets and achieved the Miracle on Ice.

Bob Suter made his home in Wisconsin until his untimely death two days ago. He operated a sporting goods store and worked tirelessly to promote youth hockey in the Madison area. Fittingly, he died at the Capitol Ice Arena in those pursuits.

Rest in peace, Bob Suter. You are loved and will be sorely missed.