Saturday 3/4 & Sunday 3/5
3pm-9pm both days
Robert J. Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home
9000 151st Street in Orland Park, IL
www.sheehyfh.com (708) 857-7878
Monday 3/6 @ 9am
from Sheehy Funeral Home to
Our Mother of Good Counsel for 10am Mass
16043 South Bell Road, Homer Glen, IL
Good Shepherd Cemetery
16201 South 104th Street, Orland Park, IL
In lieu of flowers, donations to Our Mother of Good Counsel and Poor Clare Monastery are appreciated.
Beloved husband, father, brother, son and friend to the many people whose lives he touched, Reynaldo "Rey" or "Nonoy" Sulit passed away peacefully on Monday, February 27, 2017. He was born from humble beginnings to Amado and Jesusa Sulit on April 12, 1936, in Misamis Oriental, Mindanao, and was raised in Laguna and Manila, Philippines. The 2nd eldest of seven children, with the eldest having died in infancy--Baby Edgardo (deceased), Leticia (Letty), Ernesto (Erning), Nenita (Nitz), Florante (Boy) and Edgardo (Edgar) -- he was a "kuya" through and through and met the Filipino standard of eldest son.
He attended the University of Santo Tomas, the famed Catholic university which is also the oldest in the Philippines and in Asia, where he began his studies in law but eventually pursued medicine. He also played on the university basketball team. He graduated an MD and became a specialist in ophthalmology which became the basis of his illustrious career for the remainder of his life.
He met his wife Dalisay "Dali" Sulit in Manila where she was also pursuing medicine and married on June 18, 1966. They began a joint practice in Manila in his father's house on M. Hizon street in central Manila but eventually took up fellowships in Chicago in the United States at a time when there was high demand for foreign medical graduates. The couple moved to Chicago in 1970 with three young children, Rommel (age 4), Reginaldo (age 3) and Roberto (age 1). They trained in some of the best medical institutions in Chicago with the intent to move back to Manila and build a private practice but when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, they elected to remain in the U.S.
The next 45 years would be the story of many immigrants who came to America to find success and opportunity for their families. Rey and Dali became naturalized citizens and created their own version of the American dream and by example, guided their children -- with Madonna and Rafael being born here -- and scores of relatives and friends into pursuing their own dreams.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Rey Sulit performed the first intraocular lens implants in Chicago at Illinois Masonic Hospital and was counted among the front line in four decades of advanced surgical and microsurgical techniques for the eye. He was a resident physician at Mercy Hospital and a respected lead ophthalmologist at the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary, Holy Cross Hospital, South Shore Hospital, Norwegian American Hospital, and became Chief of Ophthalmology at Little Company of Mary Hospital. He also held a successful private practice based in the south suburbs of Chicago. This latest position he held until his retirement some ten years ago, and for which he will be an honoree on March 22 for 35 years of service to LCM. He served in the leadership in many of the local Filipino medical associations and for a period of time and with Dr. Dali Sulit, through pharmaceutical and medical equipment foundational grants, led charitable missions to the Philippines to provide eye treatments and surgery for the needy at no cost. His final career post was as Medical Director for Alliance Home Healthcare, the home health agency Dr. Dali Sulit maintained for nearly 20 years.
Outside of work, he cherished his wife and family. The Sulits lived in the Garfield Boulevard area in the 70s and relocated to Evergreen Park in 1974 where Rommel, Robert and Reggie attended St. Bernadette. They moved in 1980 to Oak Lawn where Rafael and Madonna attended St. Germaine. The boys went to Marist High School and Madonna went to Mother McAuley. Colleges for the Sulit siblings included the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Loyola University, University of Iowa, and Northwestern University, with graduate stints for Rommel at the University of Texas at Austin (Masters in Architecture), Rafael at Columbia University (Masters in Strategic Communications) and Madonna at Northwestern University (joint-BS and MA in Speech-Language Pathology). The Sulits moved one final time to Lemont to reside at Ruffled Feathers which continues to be the home base for our family.
But despite his many achievements, Dr. Rey Sulit will most be remembered as "Rey" or "Nonoy" the charming and in many ways most unintentionally funny man on the planet. His liberal use of English grammar and pronunciation (perhaps paralleled only by his brother Erning) and the associated "Dad stories" is the stuff of legend. Numerous friends of his children and relatives would wait with bated breath for the next funny "Dad story." To tell you the truth, we should probably write a book ...
He played basketball in medical group pick-up games and sponsored events, on occasion in full UST regalia. He was also an avid boxing fan and had served as a ring doctor during his years of training in Manila. But his greatest sports love was golf, which he discovered late in his life but to which he remained a devoted acolyte till the end. He was an avid player and student of the game and often quoted the great Harvey Penick. It's no accident that his final home was at Ruffled Feathers in Lemont, designed by his favorite course designer Pete Dye.
In his elder years, Rey survived and rebounded extraordinarily from a couple of strokes and heart attacks (he had quadruple bypass surgery 20 years prior). But his body weakened in recent years. In early February this year, he was admitted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn (just a short walk from our home on Kenneth Avenue) for related ailments connected to congestive heart failure and pneumonia. We want to thank Dr. Nenita Irabagon for her wonderful care as well as the entire nursing staff, aides and related caregivers at Advocate Christ. Through a difficult few weeks, Rey mustered the strength to prolong his stay in our world, long enough for his wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, relatives and friends to properly say goodbye. He was transferred to Burgess Square Healthcare where in the intimacy of a private room, he had his last breath in the presence of his beloved Dali.
It would be easy to list Dr. Rey Sulit's accomplishments and make a claim for his greatness. But that was never his goal -- always doing the right thing was. He was one of the most honest people around, principled and honorable. Rommel's longtime friend John said he was one of the "sweetest men" he'd ever known. We love him and knew him as simply a good good man. God bless him on his journey to join our other dear departed family and to rest in God's presence. We will miss him dearly.
He is survived by wife Dalisay "Dali" Sulit, M.D. (nee Alejos)
Children Rommel (and spouse Elizabeth), Reggie (and gf Anca), Robert, Rafael (wife Jennifer) and Madonna and husband Alex (Rheingans)
Grandchildren Elena, Katrina, Sienna Rheingans and Matthew Conejos (son to Jennifer and Rafael)
Siblings Leticia (and late husband Jaime), Ernesto (and wife Jasmin), Nenita (and husband Vicente), Florante (and wife Evelyn), Edgardo (and wife Jean) and the late Edgardo
Family members Patricia Guzman Amodia and Sofronio Amodia, and sisters- & brother-in- law
Countless cousins, nieces and nephews and friends