Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

January 11, 2013

Bernard J. Socha

TRAVERSE CITY — Bernard J. Socha, 72, of Traverse City and Hudson, Fla., died Dec. 31, 2012, in Florida, after a hard fight that cancer had won.

Barney was born on March 6, 1940, in Cheboygan, the son of Otto and Frances (Bourrie) Socha. On Nov. 5, 1965, he married Mary Sue Core, who predeceased him.

Before his retirement he worked as general manager of Grand Traverse Overall; he was in the laundry business for 40 years. He had a license plate that read, "Rag-picker", and he was very proud of his career.

When in Traverse City, Barney was an active member at the Traverse City Elks Lodge, where he was once named Elk of the year.

In recent years, he was a full time resident of Hudson, Fla., where he met Shirley and shared the last three years of his life with her.

Barney was an avid golfer; it was his second job before retirement and his full time job after. You could catch him after hours perusing the golf course for lost balls as well.

He was a loyal friend, a great listener and a wonderful human being with a great personality, an awesome belly laugh and a killer smile with a twinkle in his eye to match it. He will be missed by many! To know him was to love him.

Barney is survived by his fiancée, Shirley; his daughter and her husband, Kimberly and Shane Crawford, and his grandchildren, Jake and Marisa, all of Mancelona. He is also survived by three sisters, Karen Hunsaker, of Cheboygan, Dianne and Bill Hellman, of Portage, and Linda Martin, of Cheboygan; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Barney was preceded in death by his wife of 36 years, Mary Sue; his son, Otto James; his parents, Otto and Frances Socha; his brothers-in-law, Elmer Hunsaker, Joe Martin, Leal Mallory and Jerry VanFleet; and nephew, Jerry VanFleet.

Per Barney's wishes, he has been cremated. There has been a funeral service for him at Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church in Hudson, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to "Trojan Athletic Booster — Socha memorial" at Traverse City Central Athletic Department, 1150 Milliken Dr., Traverse City, MI 49686.

Please visit and sign the online guestbook at

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