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1959 Susan E. Szydlo 2024

Susan Edith Szydlo

January 23, 1959 — April 27, 2024


Susan “Sue” Edith (née Dolka) Szydlo, born January 23, 1959, passed away much too soon on April 27, 2024, surrounded by family, due to complications from a January 2024 surgery. Sue will be dearly and forever missed by her loving family, friends, and many others who had the fortune and great luck to know her. It’s been said that life gives you what you can handle, and, if this is true, then life surely knew how strong, fierce, and exceptional Sue was going to be, because Sue’s life had many challenges – all of which she bravely, courageously, and happily endured with a confidence beyond measure. Born in Buffalo, New York to Edward and Sandra (Bittle) Dolka, Sue lived in many places, but grew up in Forestville, New York. An avid sports enthusiast and player, Sue was part of Forestville’s first girls’ softball team following the enactment of Title IX and was very active in her youth, with a pre-determined running route around the village and a dream of being in the Olympics. Sue also knew from an early age that she wanted to be an educator, first teaching stuffed animals in front of a chalkboard, which eventually led to her getting her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education, with a focus in Mathematics and Spanish. Throughout her high school and college days, Sue helped in whatever way she could for various sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and track and field – from water girl, to stats taker, to starting pistol shooter. Sue met her husband, John (“Jack”) Szydlo, through a shared interest in sports and whom she married in 1982. Shortly after their marriage, Sue began to experience health problems; in the 1980s, little was known about Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Eventually, her diagnosis was realized, and she began her life-long journey living with MS. Sue gave birth to two sons, John Edward (Nicole) Szydlo in 1985 and Michael Peter (Marisa Franchini) Szydlo in 1987. A loving mother with unconditional support for her family, Sue lived with MS to the fullest extent possible and raised two successful children, primarily due to her intelligence, strength, and determination. Sue was a proud grandmother to John’s two sons, Jack Michael and Wilson Reagan, and Michael’s two daughters, Edith Ann and Nora Cecilia. Her strength and fortitude live on in her children and grandchildren, all of whom are lucky and appreciative to have these gifts. Sue’s hobbies in life included playing, assisting with, and watching sports – her favorite teams were the New York Yankees, the Buffalo Bills, and the Duke Blue Devils, but she enjoyed all sports; she also loved visiting various restaurants, shows, and events with dear friends; and, later in life, she enjoyed watching game shows on television. Beginning in the early 1990s, Sue participated in many trials and studies to help the development of MS drugs, several of which have since come onto the market and are able to help others with MS live better lives. She did this with the hope that anyone living with MS would have an easier time managing their symptoms and be able to continue with their daily activities – something that Sue accomplished throughout her life. After over 40 years of living with MS, Sue still managed to walk around independently (only needing assistance with great distances and stairs), and she was very proud of her mobility. In 2012, Sue climbed hundreds of steep, cobblestone steps to the top of Mont St. Michel, France, due not only to helpful assistance from her husband Jack and other helpful friends, but primarily because of the tenaciousness that was always present within her. Sue never gave up on anything and was as determined of a person as one could ever be. Those closest to her know that her spirit will continue to endure and that she is surely training for her next marathon. Her family thanks those who were especially helpful to her in her later years, particularly her home health aides and especially the healthcare staff at Erie County Medical Center. In lieu of flowers, Sue’s family asks that any donations be made in her memory to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Sue is survived by her husband, Jack, her two sons and their families, her brother Tom (Linda) Dolka as well as her sisters Teri (Charles) Gloff and Debbie Huey. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews and their families. Sue is predeceased by her father, Edward Dolka and Sandra (Bittle) Dolka, as well as “Tia,” Shirley Livsey.

Friends and family are welcome to attend calling hours Wednesday, May 1, 2024 from 4 to 7 p.m. at R. Mackowiak Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 10 a.m. at St. Hedwig’s Roman Catholic Church. Interment in St. Hyacinth’s Cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Susan Edith Szydlo, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

R. Mackowiak Funeral Home

56 E Doughty St, Dunkirk, NY 14048

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 2, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Mary Angela Parish Church of St. Hedwig

Doughty Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048

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Thursday, May 2, 2024

11:00 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

St. Hyacinth's Cemetery

Rt. 5 , Dunkirk, NY 14048

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