Susan Joy Solka

Resided in Gladstone, MI
Died May 9, 2021

Susan Joy Solka, age 77, of Gladstone, passed away peacefully Sunday, May 9, 2021 at The Bishop Noa Home in Escanaba.

Susan was born August 14,1943, in Green Bay, WI, the daughter of Violet (Johnson) and Roderick Virgo. She was a 1961 graduate of Escanaba High School. During high school, she played the bassoon. She was a runner up in the Ms. Delta County Pageant twice and also was on the Queen’s Court in 1963 for the Escanaba Centennial. Susan furthered her education at Northern Michigan University where she obtained a certificate in secretarial work. She worked as a secretary for Harnischfeger in Milwaukee, WI.

Susan and her husband, Dwight Harwood, operated The BBQ restaurant in Rapid River for three years and then the Swallow Inn from 1971 until 1983. She also worked as a Bay Bank teller and was promoted to receptionist for the loan department for six years. Susan retired as a secretary for Escanaba Area Schools after 16 years. She loved every job she did and put her heart and soul into them.

Susan was a selfless kind and gentle person who always made sure everyone was having fun and well fed. She loved being around her family and friends, especially at Christmas time. Her Christmas Eve gatherings are legendary.

Her sunny disposition was always apparent, she was fun to spend time with. On trivia nights, not only was she a great source of correct answers, but she was also often the life of the party. Through a long and difficult illness, she maintained her upbeat attitude and hope for the future. She will be dearly missed.

Susan loved traveling and going on cruises with her husband. She enjoyed trivia and watching Jeopardy. She supported the Gladstone Jobs Daughters Bethel and volunteered for YAP, Youth Action Program.

Susan is survived by:
Son: Michael (Mindy) Harwood of Saxapahaww, NC
2 Daughters: Holly (Paul) Peoples of Gladstone, MI
Pamela (Kiowa) Kirchoff of Alpena, MI
2 Brothers: Scott Virgo of Ann Arbor, MI
Keith Virgo of Escanaba, MI
Sister: Gwen Wood (Orrin Bailey) of Buchanan, MI
7 Grandchildren: Natalie Harwood, Andrew, Dylan, Kelsey MacNeill, Mitch Pfiefer, Claire Bryan, and Jiri Solka.
1 Great Grandchild: Sevi MacNeill
And 4 Nieces: Jenny Keskey, Dana (Keith) Virgo-Weintraub, Erin Virgo, and Laura Virgo.

In addition to her Parents, Susan was preceded in death by:
Husband: Richard Solka, Sr.
And Brother: Bruce Virgo

Sue’s family would like to express heartfelt thanks to Sue’s North Woods Place Family; the team at the Bishop Noa Home for their compassionate care and especially to the team at OSF St. Francis Hospital during her recent stay. Sue received exemplary care at OSF from Dr. Joseph Steele.

The family will receive friends on Friday, May 14, 2021 from 3:00 until 5:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Funeral services for Susan will follow at 5:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be directed to Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation, www.myotonic.org/donate-towards-myotonic-dystrophy-care-and-cure. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Solka family.

17 Tributes for “Susan Joy Solka

    I had the pleasure of cheffing for Sue for a few years recently and enjoyed our weekly visits. Blessings and condolences to her family and all that loved her. She was a special lady.

    My heart broke finding out that such a kind lady and my second mom passed away. What a beautiful obituary, it describes her to a T. Growing up next door, us kids were over all the time and she had patience of a saint to put up with all of us. Hauling us here and there, letting us have slumber parties and so many other things that it’s too much to mention. She’s a big part of my childhood memories and I’ll treasure them always. She’ll be greatly missed. Love you Sue.

    Sue was one of the kindest women I have ever met. I am better for having known her, as are all those who were fortunate enough to spend time with her. Holly, Michael, and family, my deepest sympathies are with you. Love you Sue. Rest easy.

    So sad to hear of Sue’s passing. She was a great person and a great secretary for us teachers when she was at the Escanaba Middle School.

    Sue’s smile, laughter, and love of family were truly a blessing to those that knew her and loved her. The heavens will shine a bit brighter with her presence. Condolences to all who shared in her life.

    As a staff member at North Woods Place I was blessed with being able to spend a lot of time with her. I have several memories that I could share but the one that means the most is this past Christmas was her first time not being able to be home with her tree up and she was emotional that she wouldn’t be able to fit it in her apartment. So I decided to call her daughter Holly to sneak me her tree and all her decorations that were sentimental to her. As she was getting ready for the day to come down for lunch I rushed and got her tree up right out side her apartment. I told her I was coming to help her down to lunch and as she opened her door there was her tree all shining so bright as if it was up at her home. I told her she could enjoy it as long as she wanted too. Sue was so thankful for the love and consideration that I gave her. Sue was always thanking me for everything I was doing for even if it was me checking in on her or just something simple as making her bed. Sue will be dearly missed not only by me but everyone at North Woods Place.

    My mother, Ruth and Sue were lunch and dinner mates at Northwoods where they began a beautiful friendship over the past few years. I too enjoyed getting to know Sue who was a great comfort to our family during our final days with mom. My heart is very saddened by your loss. Susan was a wonderful person.

    A stop at Sue and Dick’s was always a highlight of our trips to the U.P.. She was a great person to visit with, invariably making us feel very welcomed and we could never get over, and truly appreciated, her work that went into the great lunches she would spread out for our travel breaks. Sue showed her true character with the help she gave to Dick when he needed it most and we will never forget her kindness. We will very much miss sister and aunt-in-law Sue. Our deepest sympathies to Holly, Michael, and all of Sue’s family.

    My deepest sympathy to the family. Sue was a dear friend, going back to high school days, and I was honored to be her date for the Centennial Ball. My condolences.

    Sue and I met when she moved to Escanaba as a teenager and became part of my group of friends. Her charming ways were such a comfort during those high school years. I have seen her a few times over the past couple of years and found her to be just as lovely as the day we met. The world was blessed when she was born and everyone who ever knew her will miss her. My sympathy goes out to family.

    I worked for Sue at the Swallow Inn so many years ago along with my mom. Sue was nice to work with. She will be missed! Rest In Peace Sue! Michael & Holly and family you are in my thought and prayers.

    Sue was a good friend of mine ever since moving to Escanaba from Green Bay. She was always very refreshing to be around, uplifting, intelligent, talented and with a great sense of humor! She was beautiful inside and out!! Sue was one of my bridesmaids. She will be missed!! Lots of Love to you Sue………..
    P.S. What a beautiful OBIT!!!

    Our condolences to Sue’s family on her passing. Sue was a kind and loving person to her entire family and all who knew her. She was a blessing to her husband, Dick. They had many good years together and we will be forever grateful to Sue for her love and support of my brother Dick during his fights with cancer. Prayers and peace to all of Sue’s family.

    Bob and I totally enjoyed and loved our time with Sue.
    She will be in our hearts forever and our memories of Sue will always make us smile.
    She was a Gift from God.

    Dear Holly,Mike and family,
    We were so sorry to hear about Sue’s passing. She was a very special lady and we have many special memories of times spent with her and Dick when they were our neighbors in Pinehaven.
    I enjoyed working with Sue for many years at the Junior High. She was always helpful and kind to everyone.
    We wish we could have been at the funeral yesterday,but we are out of town.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Dennis and Peggy Carlyon

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