Martin John Surak was born July 12, 1933 in Brady, PA to Joseph and Mary (nee Koyack) Surak. Marty, named after his maternal grandfather, joked that he was mostly raised by the nuns at school while his older brother Joe served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946.
Marty graduated from Coal Township High School in 1950. His cartoon drawings in the yearbook are a fan favorite, and he was also a member of the Glee Club. He followed in his brother’s footsteps and served as radio controller on the USS Leary from 1953-1957. Back home in PA, he studied engineering at Penn State and was a huge fan of their football team.
When he entered the office of the Shamokin Dispatch to submit his mom’s obituary, he was instantly smitten with the clerk, Josephine Marie Varano. They married in August, 1961 and were together until Jo’s passing in December 2007. He adopted Jo’s daughter, Gayle Wilson, and they moved to Bellefonte, PA, where their son David Martin was born in 1962. They moved to Baltimore, MD, where their daughter Diane Marie was born in 1963.
Marty first worked for Bendix in Towson, MD and then Phoenix Mutual as a life insurance agent while raising his young family in Parkville, MD. They later moved to Campus Hills in Towson and resided there until 2016. Marty also continued to work into his 70’s at Frankel Acura, long after his “retirement”.
After his wife’s passing, he performed in several shows with the Bykota on Stage group and became known for his beautiful singing voice until his health necessitated a move to Brookdale Assisted Living in 2016. Marty continued to sing there and again when he moved to Morningside House of Satyr Hill in 2019. He also enjoyed attending or watching Ravens and Oriole games with his son and grandson, classic movies with his daughter, crossword puzzles, crab cakes, potato chips and ice cream. His family and many of his fellow residents and staff members also loved his dry sense of humor.
Sadly, Marty was diagnosed with Covid19 in December, along with many staff members and fellow residents at Morningside. He was taken to the ER at Franklin Square with shortness of breath and pneumonia and passed peacefully in Hospice on 1/5/21. He was a lucky man, going from the love he was surrounded with from his family and friends, straight to the loving embrace of God.
In addition to his parents (Mary in 1959 and Joseph in 1950), Marty was preceded in death by his sister, Bernadette (1934); his beloved wife Josephine (2007); his brother Joe (2008) and his daughter Gayle Anne Surak (2017). He is survived by his son, David Surak of Lutherville, MD; his daughter Diane Surak Rohan of Southern Shores, NC; his son-in-law Chris Rohan; his granddaughter Katie Riecks and her husband Vincent Zampana of Philadelphia, PA; his grandson Tyler Rohan of Providence, RI; his grandson Ryan Barth Surak and granddaughter Caroline Marie Surak of Lutherville, MD. He will also be missed dearly by his many nieces, nephews and cousins in MD, PA, VA and NJ.
Due to Covid restrictions, there will be a private family viewing at Evans Funeral Home in Parkville. Marty will be buried next to his beloved wife of 46 years at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. A private viewing and grave side ceremony will be held for invited family only on January 14th. Another celebration of his life is tentatively scheduled for July of 2021.
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