October 22, 2014

Hard work, family, education, God and community

Samuel Miscisin leaves behind lasting impressions

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STERLING — Samuel Miscisin passed away Tuesday, March 17 at the age of 89, but the Standish and Sterling communities will no doubt remember his legacy for years to come.

“We’re sure going to miss him, everyone of us,” said Sam’s wife of 66 years, Ina Miscisin. “Sam was marvelous. He was very kind.”

“He really loved his whole family,” added his daughter Suzanne Hovey. He always had a joke. He seemed to remember them all.”

But according to Suzanne, his immediate family wasn’t the only ones that witnessed Sam’s kindness and sense of humor.

“He loved to visit with everybody,” she said. “He could carry on a conversation with anybody.”

Gregory, one of Sam’s three sons and his longtime business partner at his farm equipment dealership Miscisin Brothers, which Sam opened in 1940 with his brother Joe who preceded him in death, said Sam always enjoyed interacting with customers at the shop.

But that’s not to say Gregory always saw eye to eye with his father and boss.

“Many times it’s difficult for family to see the direction, the guidance, the elder person is trying to instill upon you,” he said. “But you always come back the next day and put it behind you. … You have to put your differences aside.”

Differences not withstanding, Gregory said there were some basic things Sam did instill upon his family – a strong work ethic, commitment to family, religion, education and community.

“He was a driven person,” said Sam’s son John, of Grand Blanc. “He passed down a strong work ethic to all us kids.”

Included in that work ethic was a dedication to learning, especially when Sam served on the Standish-Sterling school board for 22 years, 13 as the board’s president.

According to John, one reason Sam was so active in the school board and wanted to serve as president was because he wanted to shake hands with his children as they graduated – a wish that was granted.

“He was pretty proud of that,” Suzanne said.

However, his involvement with school could make things tough for his kids.

“We couldn’t get away with anything at school,” Suzanne said. “Before we even got home from school, he’d know about it.”

“He knew how to put the pressure on us,” John added. “It was very important for us to do well in school.”

Even after he was no longer on the board, his support for education didn’t waiver.

“I cannot think of a time that my dad did not vote yes for something that would have to do with the school,” John said.

Also, in the 1950’s, Suzanne said Sam, along with other board members, was very instrumental in consolidating schools in Standish and Sterling into one district.

Sam also played a part in establishing two Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches, one in Bay City and one in Omer.

John says a disaster at the family’s church in Pinconning led to Sam, along with other members seeking to find a new place to worship.

“One Easter Sunday, about 1960, the church (in Pinconning) burned,” he said. “We started having liturgies in Standish with a visiting priest.”

According to John, the Standish liturgies were held at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, now known as Resurrection of the Lord Catholic Church, but were temporary until the family could find a permanent place to worship.

That’s when word got out to Sam and others about an empty church building in Bay City.

“We found a building that was already there and we (congregation) bought it and converted it into a Byzantine Catholic Church,” John said. “It was a group effort. He (Sam) was one of the primary spark plugs.”

He added that in 1980, a Byzantine Catholic Priest offered to start traveling closer to Arenac County for liturgies if a site could be found. John says that’s when Sam and others of similar denomination began attending a Byzantine Church in Omer, which Sam attended until his death.

Not attending church at all, though, no matter where the family chose to attend, was not an option.

“You have to go to church,” Gregory said his father told him. “You have to go to church.”

Sam was also visible in the community. Gregory says he was a charter member of the Standish Kiwanis and in his absence, Miscisin Brothers, a hub of the Standish community for nearly seven decades now, continues to operate.

Gregory says that although his father had grown old, he was still the top person at the business all the way up to his passing.

“There can only be one captain of a ship,” he said. “I’ve been second in command, we’ll see how I can do as number one.”

According to Sam’s surviving family members, he also liked to work in his garden, fish in his trout ponds and travel.

“They (Sam and Ina) went to Russia and Poland on their 25th wedding anniversary,” Suzanne said.

Besides Gregory, John and Suzanne, Sam and Ina also have another son; Samuel A.

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