Father Robert J. Suchan, a missionary who served in the Philippines, died Aug. 22, 2015, in the Jesuit residence at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. He was 89 years old.
Father Suchan was born March 17, 1926, in Buffalo. He attended St. Gerard Parochial School and Canisius High School and Canisius College, all in Buffalo, before joined the Jesuit community at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie in 1944. In 1947, he first went to the Philippines for his studies.
Father Suchan studied philosophy at Novaliches and La Ignaciana before completing his regency at San Jose Seminary, where he taught English, Latin, religion, history and math. He returned to the United States in 1953 to study theology at Woodstock College in Maryland, receiving STB and STL degrees.
In 1956, Father Suchan was ordained a deacon and a priest at Fordham University Chapel in the Bronx. He went on to complete a tertianship at Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville before receiving a master's degree in library science from Columbia University in New York City.
In 1959, Father Suchan returned to the Philippines after being assigned to Ateneo de Manila University, where he served as director of libraries until 1982. During this time, he established the university's Library Materials Project in 1969 and the Philippine Library Materials Foundation Inc.
In 1982, Father Suchan was assigned to Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines, where he taught religious studies, served as a chaplain of grade school and university students and heard confessions. At the university, he also served as an acting minister and librarian.
Outside of Xavier University, he was also a campus minister at Ateneo de Zamboanga and briefly taught there in 1991 before becoming a library director and assistant parish priest from 1996-99. In 2013, he returned to the Jesuit residence at Ateneo de Manila University until his death.
Father Suchan is survived by a brother, Richard Suchan Sr.; two sisters, Mary Ann Perry and Eleanor Batt; and 39 nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at St. Michael Church in Buffalo, with an additional Mass in the oratory of St. Ignatius, Loyola House of Studies at Ateneo de Manila University. Father Suchan was buried in Sacred Heart Novitiate Jesuit Cemetery, also in the Philippines.