In memory of
Sochanek, Stanley Stanislaw (Stan) Sochanek was born in Tomaszow Lubelski, Poland on May 7, 1932. During the Nazi Regime in 1939, he and his family were sent to Germany by way of a crowded cattle car to work in a German ammunition factory. At the work camp, Stan was quite instrumental in helping to obtain extra food for a camp that was in survival mode. At the end of the War, Stan and his family were sent back to a Communist Poland where they had very little freedom. As a young man with much determination and zest for life, in 1953, Stan swam across the Odra river to escape to Berlin where he soon joined the U.S. Army. This was by far one of the proudest moments in his life. While in the Army, Stan was sent to Japan with the 101st Airborne Division, where his love for Judo began. While in Japan, he received his black belt in Judo in just nine months. After leaving the Army, he settled in Grand Rapids and for 60+ years pursued his love of Judo, teaching Judo to thousands of students ranging from youth to adults. He had the distinguished honor of retiring as a 7th Degree Black Belt. He loved to cook, garden, dance, play tennis and racquetball and travel. He is survived by his wife, Susan, sister, Ericka Sochanek, son Eric Sochanek (Alexandra), Scott Sochanek (preceded in death), David Sochanek (Valerie), and Christina Bregg (Richard), Stepdaughter, Stacey Olk (John Olk), and Stepson Kenny Seale (Jodi). Five grandchildren, four step grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. Services will be held at Saint Isidore Catholic Church on Friday, May 7th. Visitation is at 10:00 A.M. and the service is at 11:00 A.M. Contributions can be made to the Stan Sochanek Judo Memorial Scholarship Fund at Godai Judo in Grand Rapids. To donate, contact Jim Murray at (616) 293-1568.
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