Fr. Theodore D. Suchy, OSB

Fr. Theodore D. Suchy, OSB

Curator - Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum


Theodore D. Such, OSB early yearsBorn in Cary, Illinois, on December 4, 1940, David Suchy came to St. Procopius College after graduating from Crystal Lake Community High School.  Joining the monastic community, he professed his monastic vows on June 24, 1962. As a cleric, he taught both English and Science courses at St. Procopius, and then Benet, Academy.  Father Theodore was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Romeo Blanchette at St. Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral on May 27, 1967. His first bachelor’s degree having been in philosophy, he completed a second one in biology in 1968 and then continued his studies at Indiana University, from which he obtained a Master of Science degree in Biology in 1970.

Suchy chartThe death of the noted biologists, Fathers Hilary and Edmund Jurica, in the early 1970s left the young “Father Ted” in charge of the Biology Department at Illinois Benedictine College, and a major portion of his work in life, until his dying day, was the preservation and enhancement of the legacy bequeathed him by these educational pioneers. What had been a collection of plants and animals amassed for classroom demonstration purposes became under his direction a full-scale nature museum, first in Scholl and then in Birck Hall, where today it is a major resource for biological education in DuPage County.

Suchy teachingFather Theodore, a quiet man with a wry sense of humor, gentle by nature but firm when necessary, also served the College and University as the director of Kohlbeck Hall for over a decade, chaplain and then associate campus minister for many years, and teacher of biology until 2009, the same year when the name of the museum was expanded to honor his many contributions. Only in the last summer of his life did he make the transition to curator emeritus of the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum, which he continued to visit almost daily.

Suchy in museum Suchy in museum Suchy outside the museum

At the monastery, Father Theodore served in a number of major positions, including Vocation Director (1974-1983), Novice Master (1983-1991), and Prior (1985-1991).  During the last decade of his life, his health deteriorated, and by 2004 it was clear that he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Though the power of speech gradually deserted him, and he became ever less steady on his feet, he bore his infirmity with grace and humor, and he continued to be involved in the daily care of the main Abbey courtyard and the supervision of the grounds until the end of his life.

Father Theodore died on October 28, 2012.

Fr. Theodore in Rome