Life Story / Obituary
In everything he did, Tim Sushereba’s greatest desire was to serve his Lord and Savior through the way he served those around him. He had a great sense of humor and a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. He treasured his roles as a husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He found joy in everything he did, and even when trials came Tim counted them all as joy. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
In the spring of 1952, Tony and Dorothy (Stoffel) Sushereba announced the birth of the baby boy they named Timothy Tony on March 1st in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The oldest of five, he was joined in his family by his siblings, Beth, Linda, Jim, and Mark. When he was a young boy, Tim, as he was always known, moved to Wisconsin where his parents worked at Lake Geneva Youth Camp. They later returned to Pennsylvania where they settled in Brookville.
Tim’s creative spirit and artistic side began to surface while he was young, and he also loved to read. It was not uncommon to find young Tim sitting on the register during the winter reading anything in the house including encyclopedias and even the dictionary! He had an incredible gift to also retain everything he read. Tim attended local schools including Brookville Area High School where he took part in the school newspaper, contributed photographs, and sang in the choir.
Once he graduated from high school Tim was eager for all that life had in store. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education after taking an extra year to complete the program as he was so involved in the Cambridge Springs, PA Newspaper that it took much of his time. Feeling called by the Lord, Tim went to Emmaus Bible College in Chicago. He sang in a traveling choir, worked on the yearbook there and connected with the people he met everywhere he went. Tim then found a job as a teacher at the Christian Academy near Philadelphia, teaching art to elementary through high school students.
This proved to be a fateful job as it was there that he met the young woman of his dreams. She was a fellow teacher named Joanne Bitler, and there was an immediate connection. They also quickly learned that they had a lot in common. Despite his difficult last name, Joanne accepted Tim’s proposal just a couple months later, and they married on June 24, 1978.
After a honeymoon on Lake Oneida in Upstate New York, the couple began their lives as a newly married couple. They settled back in small towns including Lansdowne and then Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. A couple of years later, Tim and Joanna welcomed their first two children, Amy and Heidi, into their hearts and home. He earned his master’s degree from Eastern Mennonite College in Virginia, taking summer classes, and traveling home to his family on weekends. While there, he felt the Lord calling him to missions, and Joanne heard the same, each independent of the other. That calling led them to service for five years at Faith Academy in Manilla, the Philippines where Tim continued to teach art and photography. Their family of five was completed with the birth of Andrew while they were home on furlough. After rerunning to the Philippines, Tim soon became sick and realized he needed to return stateside to get the care he needed.
Back home, their family lived near Tim’s parents in Brookville. While there, he qualified for a one-year program at Edinboro University to become a registered nurse. It was an intense year for Tim and his family, but they made it through. Tim then worked a few odd jobs while waiting for the next step. When he heard of a position at Rest Haven Homes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he accepted the position and moved his family to the area in 1997. This was a great fit as Tim deeply loved caring for the residents and found great reward in spending time at their bedside. This also provided a unique opportunity for his family as each of his children also spent time working there, which allowed them to see their father serve others while also spending additional time with him. Tim had a way of putting others at ease with his gentle and gracious spirit. The final six years of his career were spent at the Meijer Heart Center before retiring. Wherever they lived, Tim setup his office in the basement where he worked on his Mac computers, had his wall of tapes, all sorts of books, and worked on his model train and display.
There were so many things to love about Tim. As a father he was an amazing role model who was there to love and encourage his children while also taking the time to truly listen to what they said. Tim’s advice was always based on Biblical principles, but it was also filled with compassion and discernment. He has been described as a quiet protector and servant leader who was always looking for ways he could serve others. Many Sundays were spent hosting others from the Assembly. Tim also had a great sense of humor as well as loads of puns and dad jokes. He loved to cook, and among the regular favorites were omelettes on Sunday mornings, pizza on Saturday night, pancakes, and his special apple pies. Tim always encouraged his kids to try new things, too. He gave his kids the love of adventure and traveling, and he also enjoyed photography, kayaking, biking, and fishing. When grandchildren came along, Tim was over the moon excited and although they lived far away, he was able to connect with them in such a special way. When they were together they shared such memorable times whether they were visiting museums, spending time exploring Tim’s model train and display, or just having meaningful conversation.
Tim’s heart for serving also extended to his church family. For the past 16 years he had served as an elder, which often meant that his personal projects got pushed to the side if there was an opportunity to serve someone else instead. Any conversation that Tim had always pointed to the Lord, and he and Joanne worked as a team to follow God’s leading in their lives.
With an unwavering faith as his constant companion, Tim Sushereba finished his race well. He loved others fully and lived to help others in ways both great and small. Tim had a quick wit and a gentle spirit along with a unique way of letting others know they were the most important thing in his life at that moment. His family was his richest blessing, second only to his faith, and his love for his wife, children, and grandchildren was impossible to miss. Tim will be missed by we have the assurance that we will meet again.
Tim Sushereba, age 69 of Grand Rapids, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on December 29, 2021. He was preceded in death by his father, Tony Sushereba; brother-in-law Robert Young; and sister-in-law Martha Sushereba. Tim is survived by his beloved wife, Joanne; their children (grandchildren) Amy & Todd Smith (Naomi, Judah, Asa), Heidi & Doug Pugh (Lucas, Natalie) and Andrew Sushereba; his mother, Dorothy Sushereba; brothers and sisters Beth Young, Linda & Ken Madgwick, Jim & Sue Sushereba, Mark & Elizabeth Sushereba; aunts and uncles Donald (Shirley) Sushereba; Alice Shaffer, Barbara (Bob) Fitzsimmons, Mary Ann (Wayne) Fry, Mildred Castner; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Bob (Mitzi) Bitler, Lois Bitler, Debbie (Joe) Ramirez; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. A private graveside service will be held for his family. All are invited to join Tim’s family for a service to remember and celebrate his life at Northwest Gospel Hall on Wednesday, January 5 at 11 AM. A further time to visit with his family will follow the service. To read more about Tim’s life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com