UPDATE 7 p.m.: A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade expressed condolences for the family.“On behalf of the Atlantic 10 Conference and its members, I’d like to offer our sincere condolences to the Sucher family and the entire Flyers’ community on the loss of a tremendous individual. As he was a Duquesne alumnus, I also offer our condolences to the Dukes community as well. We ask that you keep the Sucher family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” she said.
EARLIER STORY: Bruce Sucher, president of the Vandalia-Butler school board and a former Vandalia city manager and police chief, died suddenly while attending the University of Dayton men’s basketball game in Pittsburgh on Friday, according to school district officials.
A statement from the district called Sucher’s passing “an unimaginable tragedy for this family, our district, and the entire Vandalia-Butler community.”
Sucher, 70, was a community leader in Vandalia for 40 years, since his hiring as a city police officer in 1976. City communications manager Rich Hopkins said Sucher served as police chief for four years in the 1980s, then was Vandalia City Manager from 1988 to 2004. The city’s justice center and expansive recreation center were built under his leadership.
“He did amazing things here. His fingerprints are all over this town,” Hopkins said. “In every way shape and form, he was a top-notch guy who loved this community and busted his butt for this community. We’re all very grateful for what he’s done for us and obviously very sad and hate to see this.”
According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiners Office, Sucher died of acute coronary syndrome
NewsCenter7 Sports Director Mike Hartsock said Sucher collapsed in the stands behind the UD pep band at one end of PPG Paints Arena about 15 minutes before the game. Medical staff quickly wheeled him away on a stretcher.
Sucher was elected to the V-B school board in November 2013, and was in the last year of his four-year term. Superintendent Brad Neavin said Sucher’s death came as a “total shock.” He said Sucher had the interests of the students, staff and community in the forefront of his mind.
“He is certainly among the best board members I have ever worked with,” Neavin said. “But beyond being a board member that I worked for, he was a personal friend and a mentor to me.”
Sucher and his family were well known in the area. He was a star basketball player at Fairview High School in Dayton and also played at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. His wife Vicki was a longtime Vandalia-Butler teacher and his daughter-in-law Kristina Sucher is a current teacher at Helke Elementary School in Vandalia. She’s also a cheerleading coach for UD basketball. Sucher’s son Brandon is a Huber Heights police sergeant.
In addition to serving as Vandalia’s city manager and chief of police, Sucher was a past president of the Vandalia Lions Club and the V-B Foundation. He served on the Dayton Chamber of Commerce board, the Air Show board, and was past chair of Montgomery/Greene Emergency Management Association.
“He was a very strong voice advocating for kids,” Neavin said. “He truly was a genuine guy, and he was a Dayton guy who knew everybody.”