By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Architecture one of was John C. Suhar's passions, and strength was one of his greatest gifts.
The owner of Suhar and Associates Architects opened his Silverton-based design firm in 1983, after battling potentially fatal forms of cancer in his muscles and lungs.
"He wasn't supposed to live," said his son, physician Chris Suhar of San Diego. "He was the strongest man I've ever known."
Mr. Suhar died Saturday at Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery after a long illness. The longtime Anderson Township resident, who recently moved to Union Township, was 61.
"His love of architecture gave him the impetus to overcome many years of challenging health problems. As an architect, one can see examples of his work all over Kentucky, Ohio, and several other areas of the United States," said his wife of 39 years, Sylvia Suhar.
Still operating the firm from his hospital bed, Mr. Suhar prided himself on being "honest and reliable," said his son.
"Contractors would come to him because they knew he could succeed in anything."
Suhar he led his staff in commercial and industrial projects for companies including Wendy's Restaurants, Pierre Frozen Foods, Clopay and Cintas.
A member of the Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church in Finneytown, he was responsible for the design of the church's community center.
Suhar graduated from Western Hills High School before continuing his education at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art and Architecture, where he earned a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1967.
He was dedicated to his family, his wife said: "Upon meeting John, you would soon find him talking about his children. He was so proud that his children were not only fine citizens with great character, but also that each one had pursued an outstanding profession."
Humor and optimism enabled him to beat cancer, his family said, and to recover from open-heart surgery, back surgery and complications from diabetes.
An active member of the church, Mr. Suhar was pivotal in organizing the Panegyri Greek Festival.
He was a member of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.
Besides his wife and son, survivors include another son, Sean of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Nicole Richardson of Loveland and Renee Todd of Lexington; three sisters, Mary Holmen of Corrales, N.M., Lisa Suhar of Melbourne, Fla., and MiMi Rose of Orlando, Fla.; and four grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5-8:30 p.m. today at Gilligan Funeral Home, 8225 Montgomery Road, Kenwood.
Service will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church, 7000 Winton Road, Finneytown. Burial will be in Spring Grove Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 8899 Brookside Ave., Suite 102, West Chester, 45069, Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church, 7000 Winton Road, Cincinnati, 45232, or to AHEPA Buckeye Scholarship, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, 45405.
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