A Tribute to Dan Suckow

This article was originally posted on November 17th, 2020.

2020 will go down as a bummer of a year (yes, my age is showing.)

The constant on again – off again lockdowns. The tone of the election (left or right, you have to agree it was terrible.) And on top of that, the loss of those we love. For me, my older brother who passed yesterday (cancer), and now Dan Suckow; a member of the Society who is so passionate about all things photographic.

Dan’s Condition


It is with great sorrow that we share with you the passing of Dan Suckow on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 at 7:00 in the morning.

His passing was peaceful, at home with family. We know that the members of the Tacoma Photographic Society will wish Dan Godspeed on his journey and we offer our sincere condolences to Janyce, Mysti, Talia and their family.

His passing leaves a gaping hole in the Society. He will be missed.

Let me start by letting his family update you on his condition. The following message was forwarded to me to share with you.

Subject: Wed. Nov. 18: Dan Suckow Coming Home Finally on Hospice

To our Beloved Friends,

What an awful nightmare we’ve been living that we never seem to wake up from. We know you are heartbroken too, as my mom has read some of your texts, emails, and cards out loud. Thank you for reaching out. This diagnosis for my Dad doesn’t seem real. We were supposed to have him another 20 years. He’s been so healthy and vibrant and remained as strong as any man could after losing a son last year. I can’t help but wonder if that trauma triggered something neuro-chemically in my father’s brain. I would like to know the answer.

I’ve been on my knees praying for a miracle and wrestling with God…saying, how could you do this? It makes absolutely no sense. I am still in shock. My family is heartbroken. I am not as mature or wise in my years as many of you, but in my walk, I cannot deny God has shown himself to be loving and He speaks to me in the tender moments. If I reach through all the pain and confusion to grasp what is true, I know in my spirit He’s good, that He comforts, and I know what He’s promised which has always come to pass. I know His plan was never for us to feel pain, or suffer disease, emptiness, anxiety or brokenness, and if we fix our eyes and hearts on the glory to come this temporal suffering will be all worth it, as Romans 8:19-22 indicates.

To tell you a little story about my Dad, I can still remember in my twenties, when we pulled up to my new apartment in Bellevue in his car, and we sat outside. We had one of those deep talks where everything went still and nothing moved around us. He said to hear from God, it’s like tuning your radio to the right station. You have to find His frequency.

In a nutshell, he meant we have to cut out all the noise and be still. My Dad also said, “This world isn’t much if you think about it.” It astonished me because as a child he was the man who showed me a great big world with so many beautiful moments. I think what he meant was this world is nothing compared to the place beyond the clouds, the heaven God’s prepared for us. My Dad knew it in his spirit then, and he knows it now.
Tomorrow we move into the final stretch. The hardest part. We thank God my Dad is finally coming home tomorrow afternoon on hospice, especially with the new Covid lockdown and no visitors permitted at the hospital, regardless of their diagnosis.

As far as my Dad’s health status goes … he still recognizes us and seems to track some conversations but can only reply with a couple words and is short of breath. He is starting to have hallucinations again. We are doing everything we can to keep him comfortable and have set up a hospital bed in our living room with nurses making home visits.

We are unsure how many days or short weeks we have left. My sister Talia and her husband Michael, and baby Aria arrived last week from Denver. My Dad’s brother Randy flies in tomorrow, and my husband Dean and sons Milo and Brody will arrive Saturday [staying in an RV in the driveway, and getting Covid tests prior to coming].
I realize some, or many of you would like to visit my Dad despite the lockdown, and we want to honor your wishes and do that as safely as possible. If that happens we’d need to keep some distance, but ask that you give us a couple days to get our bearings with Dad so we can figure out how best to care for him. Perhaps we can facilitate FaceTime sessions too.

Also my mom is a little overwhelmed with phone calls and texts and unable to respond promptly. She’s exhausted with the emotional weight of it all and chemo on top of it as you can imagine.

[Mysti left a phone number here. – it has been redacted – please leave your messages below – we will forward them on.]

Here are a couple of verses my mom came across and shared yesterday through tears:
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Psalms 116:15

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Psalm 90:10

Please keep us in your prayers.

With love,
Mysti & family

Dan Suckow

I have been a member of Tacoma Photographic Society for many years. I didn’t really notice the unassuming engineer when he joined. Probably because Dan is always more comfortable in a back seat as an observer.

He wasn’t long making an impression however as his work has come to dominate club competitions. Maybe it was because he is so quiet and patient and willing to wait for the moment that his compositions are so excellent.

We were able to coax Dan to take a leadership role in the Society. His contributions at board meetings as Print Director have been thoughtful and wise. His greatest contributions were at our meetings. Either leading the Print meeting or providing critiques to our images. His style is always gentle; always finding the good points in an image while pointing out where it could use improvement.

Dan is also a humble photographer. When his image did not place as well as he may have liked, we would never know. He took the ranking and the criticism as kindly as he gave.

I look forward to the time when we will be able to meet again to display our prints. I pray that our friend Dan will be able to join us.

The Suckow Gallery

I have gone through the TPS archives and pulled up some of Dan’s better work (can’t find any of his less than better work 😉). Please take a moment to enjoy, to reflect, and to pray for our friend.

13 thoughts on “A Tribute to Dan Suckow”

  1. I was shock to heard about our beloved Dan Suckow condition. I have learned a lot from his critics as a professional and amazing gentleman in our club. My thoughts and prayers for I was shock to heard about our beloved Dan Suckow condition. I have learned a lot from his critics as a professional and amazing gentleman in our club. My thoughts and prayers for Him and I hope for god’s miracle. Please pass my thoughts to his family. I’am in the ship for now at Southern California but I will pray when the sun goes down And up at the ocean.

    Sal Ahmed

  2. Like so many others I’m speechless as to what has happened to Dan. Beyond words really. I can’t believe how suddenly this seems to have come on, although perhaps Dan knew earlier there was something not right. I don’t know. Life is so short and so fragile and sometimes so seemingly unfair. But Dan has a gift that we all should appreciate, a rare gift of being able to recognize, capture through photography and then share with others through the visual words of the image the intimate detail of what life has to offer. It wasn’t that Dan’s photography was so good technically, for it absolutely was, it’s that he took it to the next level, the highest level, and conveyed the human emotion that went with the image, through the image itself. It was this power of the unspoken word that reached his audience. That was the true beauty, the true magnificence of his images and of his talent. And additionally, that’s what ultimately warms the heart of a photographer, the heart of a true artist, and that’s what Dan is, a true artist, in every sense of the word. If and when he leaves us, please know he will be with a warm heart for what he has shared with us. That’s what separates those that strive to be artists and those that have arrived. That’s what makes his imagery so powerful, so above other imagery that we see on a daily basis. It brings tears to my eyes to loose such a gifted friend, photographer and artist.. It’s been a true honor to know Dan and to witness what he has shared with us. It breaks my heart. -Alan Caddey

  3. I did not know Mr. Suckow except for a couple times when he did the critic of a couple of my photos. As a Christian I understand what his daughter has expressed using some well selected passages from the Bible. Mr Suckow is an incredible photographer and I for one strive to reach that level if possible. One way or the other Mr. Suckow is in the Lord’s hands and Blessings on his family.

  4. I met Dan in the South Hill Photography Group. After seeing his photos at a couple meetings I so admired his work. His photography is always top notch. He has such an eye for beauty in this world. I am so sorry to hear of this news. My thought and prayers are with Dan & his entire family & friends.

  5. I’m so grateful to Dan because I learned so much from him. I cherish our conversations about photography. I really enjoy seeing his photos. There is definitely some kind of magic in every one of them. I love working with Photoshop, but sometimes I am unsure with my end products. He would always give me the thumbs up when he saw some of my better projects and continually encouraged me. He gave me some of the best advice in advancing my skills in PS I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. His photographic skills are profound. More important about this great man is that he is such a good mentor and friend as many know.

  6. My wife and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Suckow family and to Dan for all of his guidance and thought into photography over these past few years as I’ve worked with him at the society. His mastery of our craft is of the highest order, and his humility and friendly nature have endeared him to many in the club, myself included. I pray for his comfort, and for the comfort of his family and friends in the days and weeks to come.

  7. Dan, so sorry to hear of what has happened. He’s always been very humble about the excellent quality of his work and encouraged others to improve. As I finish my time as print secretary I will miss working with him as print director. He did a great job with the meetings and brought something new with the music. May his family somehow find peace in this so difficult time.

  8. With all that is going on at this time, I find I am most thankful for my time to know Dan, and to be a small part of his journey. My heart aches at this time. I will remember the thousands of miles, countless shutter clicks, thousands of hours we spent together. Those times we would stand next to one another, so he could remark on his First Place image how I was there with him. His humble grace, willingness to share, and passion for his craft. We talked many times how we noticed the improvement in the caliber of photographs in the club, and the clubs accomplishments regionally and internationally. He is my best friend, mentor, and spiritual guide. While we may have different on subjects, sometimes passionately, however we always respected each other’s opinion and listened. We finished every trip/outing the same way we started, with a hug. I commented on an image I posted on FB, that I am happy to follow in his footsteps, because I know of no one capable of filling them. While I will miss not being able to look over and see him standing near me, I do know he will always be beside me. Love you Danno, Timmos, (Reddish)

  9. Thank you for allowing us to share in your hardship and the joy of the Lord. My heart hurts to hear about Dan. Mysti, you had mentioned you were wondering if the passing of his son last year may have triggered something. My neighbor when I live in WA (moved to AZ late 2018) had lost his brother and had very severe central nervous system with other internal systems affected by his loss that have changed his life. It is entirely possible that could have been a contributing factor with your Dad. I am grateful to have shared in the LIFE and photography of Dan Suckow. Priceless lessons in photography, and life. A humble man with such a gift and of sharing to help others improve at any stage in photography, life. Thankful to have had the honor to know Dan. Graceful. Thoughtful. Kind. Encouraging. Sweet spirited man. Warm hearted. God bless you, Carolyn Green

  10. Sent 11/13/20
    Hi Mysti, I have not had the pleasure of meeting you, although I have been warmly introduced to you and your sister as I sat with your folks at photo club dinners. Wow, do they light up when they talk about you two!

    When circumstances permit, please convey the following to your Dad.

    Dear Dan,

    I can barely imagine the difficulty of your life right now. My prayers are for you and your family. And for the brilliant specialists who will find a path through this for you. You all are fortunate to be walking with God and each other through this.

    I need to tell you and your family how much you have and will mean to me.

    Of course, you have encouraged me to grow as a photographer. Your photographs of animals tell all of us to go far beyond the subject; they portray the life, emotion, and light you saw, and they conveyed all that to us. I remember a beachside landscape of yours that sets a high bar for the landscape I try to portray.

    Beyond photographs, your words and example have prodded me toward being a middling artist. You impressed on me the need to make prints that can be viewed many times, and can reveal creative aspects and emotional triggers not immediately apparent.

    Most enduringly, I hope I have grown as a person by observing the kindness and warmth that you offer when talking about photos and your family. I expect you could even talk about politics with kindness and warmth!

    Past all the anxiety and weariness you must feel, I hope you can take deep, enduring satisfaction in what you have created … far beyond photographs.

    Your friend, Dick Knudson

  11. My condolences to his wife and whole family and to his admirers Friends including my self. Is a great loss to our club. Dan he’ll be missed a lot. God bless him and rest in peace Dan.

  12. It has been a week since Dan left us for a better place. I still can’t believe he is gone. I find myself thinking of him and his family at the most random times. My heart aches for Janyce and their family as well as for all of his many, many friends. Dan may be gone from this world but his spirit will always live on in everyone that has ever had the privilege of knowing him. He was the most passionate photographer and every piece of his art was a huge labor of love. He was truly a remarkable man in every sense of the word and will be sorely missed. Dan, thanks for being my mentor, my friend, and my forever inspiration.
    Love always, Judi

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