Richard Harvey ("Dick") Suddath, 94, passed away of old age on August 24, 2013, dying peacefully at home. He was born in Jacksonville on April 22, 1919, the same year that his father, Carl Suddath, founded Suddath Moving and Storage Company, now known as The Suddath Companies.
A lifelong Jacksonville resident, Dick graduated from Lee High School in 1937. As a youth, he joined the Boy Scouts, later becoming an Eagle Scout and a member of Order of the Arrow. He began college at the University of Florida but transferred to the University of Colorado (CU) and graduated there in 1941. At CU in Boulder, he met his wife and life companion, Barbara Anne Johnson, a Colorado native. Dick completed his first year of Law School at CU but left in 1942 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor to serve in the Army. Trained in tactics and map reading, he became a military instructor of recruits at the Citadel in Charleston where he and Barbara were married in 1943. Toward the end of the War, his father Carl died of leukemia and instead of returning to law school Dick came back to Jacksonville to take over running Suddath Moving and Storage, where he remained for his entire career until he retired in 1989 from his position as Chairman of the Board.
Dick, also known affectionately by his grandchildren as Daddy Bear, is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Barbara Anne Johnson Suddath, their four children, Barbara Suddath Strickland (Robert Strickland), Julia A. Suddath-Ranne (Micheal Ranne), Richard Lee Suddath, M.D. (Arlene Hegg, M.D.) and Stephen M. Suddath (Danielle Suddath); and by eight living grandchildren, Jessica Anne Lee, Joy Anna Lee, Kirsten Marie Suddath, Erik T. Suddath, Anika Kelsey Suddath, Kelly A. Suddath, Christian M. Suddath and Jack V. Suddath. He is also survived by his half-brother, Carl Z. Suddath. He is predeceased by his granddaughter, Anne Elizabeth Suratt. His close friend and companion, Oscar Randolph, and his three "Angels" and caretakers, Cheryl Cabot, Catina Rodriguez, and Nicole Cabot Parrillo, provided the devotion, love, encouragement and persistence that kept him alive and actively involved in the life around him during his last three years. He loved them and was deeply grateful for their presence in his life.
Dick was a multi-faceted person, patriarch of his family and a strong leader in his personal, business and community activities. He is best known for his private and public generosity, for his passion for those he loved and for his determination to excel wherever he focused his energy and resources. He was an intellectual, a visionary, emotional and tenacious. He had a great capacity for intimacy. He valued hard work, stewardship, and having fun. He endeavored to pass some of these qualities on to his children and grandchildren.
A competitive businessman, Dick established a strong team that transformed Suddath Moving and Storage Company from a small local company to one that has branches and agents throughout the country and the world. Early in his career he helped found Atlas Van Lines and his company became its largest agent. He was a member of its board of directors and also served as President of the American Movers' and Warehouseman's Association (AMSA).
Dick believed strongly in the values and lessons taught by the Boy Scouts and served as an adult troop leader and as President of the Northeast Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America. For more than sixty years he was a devoted member of The Meninak Club and served as its President, reflecting his commitment to the growth and development of Jacksonville and service to its children's needs. Over the course of his career, he also served as President of the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOSH) and the Northeast Florida Division of the Children's Home Society. He served on many community boards, including the Jacksonville University Council, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Jacksonville YMCA, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Water Color Society and the Jacksonville Commodores League. He was a loyal member of the congregation of All Saints Episcopal Church for over 65 years.
Recreationally, he enjoyed boating, canoeing, and camping out, not only in Florida but throughout the US. He was a longtime member of the Florida Yacht Club. He was an active member of the "Over the Hill" Canoe Club and the Florida Trail Association. He took up competitive running in his fifties, finished a marathon in his early sixties, and completed his last River Run at the age of 72. He loved history, wrote numerous stories and poems and published a novel inspired by his interest in the civil war, A Simple Thread, and a children's book called Ohio is Purple.
A memorial service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church, 4171 Hendricks Avenue, at 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 7, 2013. A reception will follow in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to The Sulzbacher Center, 611 East Adams Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202 or to The Meninak Foundation, 5932 North Caribbean Court, Jacksonville, Florida 32277.
Words of comfort can be left at www.hardage-giddenshendricksave.com
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home 4115 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville, FL 32207. (904) 346-3808.