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Rev. Thomas J. Suchon

Deceased: 1976-05-08


Seminary Graduation Year: 1963

Rev. Thomas J. Suchon: A Promise Made. . .A Promise Kept. Written be Jeffrey W. Pompeo, Esq

When Paul VI Regional High School on Valley Road in Clifton (now the John Paul II Center) opened in September 1967, its first Director was a young Roman Catholic priest by the name of Thomas J. Suchon. He was 29 years old at the time. Father Suchon died on May 8, 1976 at the age of 38. Cancer claimed his young life. Thereafter, I wrote an article in the local newspaper in which I promised to “keephis memory alive.” May 8, 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of his untimely death. This article is in keeping with the promise I made. Father Suchon was tall and solidly built with thick, wiry hair and a thin beard that outlined his face and mouth. He smoked cigars liked the New York Yankees and proudly wore his Paul VI high school ring.

His powerful voice would resonate over the sounds of the crowd at Paul VI sporting events, plays and musical productions. THE PROMISE: My first article about Father Suchon
appeared on May 22, 1975 in The Beacon, a religious publication of the Diocese of Paterson (“Punchily Yours, TJS”); it was written shortly before my graduation from Paul VI High School.
My second article – also published in The Beacon – commemorated the 10th anniversary of his death (“Memories of Father Suchon,” May 8, 1986). That was followed by articles in The Record (“Graduate Mourns Demise of School,” May 19, 1991); The Beacon, for his 20th anniversary (“A Friend Remembered,” May 2, 1996) and Clifton Insider, for his 30th anniversary (“Reverend Thomas J. Suchon: His Memory and Legacy Are Alive and Well,” May 5, 2006).

But perhaps the greatest part of the promise was the Rededication of Suchon Field in 2003. Shortly after Father Suchon’s death, a group of Paul VI fathers, some of whom were contractors and builders, asked me to serve on a committee with them. The goal: to clear the open space behind Paul VI and build a field for sporting events to be named “Suchon Field.” The dedication, which included a large wooden sign bear ing the name “Suchon Field”, took place in 1977.