Long after his days as an Osceola County Commissioner ended, Gary Suhl stayed involved, serving on various citizens’ advisory boards and committees. Suhl, a Commissioner from 1978 through 1982, died Wednesday. He was 72.

“Gary was a very down to earth guy, who was really connected to Osceola County and its rural traditions,” said Commissioner Fred Hawkins, Jr. “His contributions and commitments for making his life-long home a better place are a memorable legacy. People always will remember Gary’s sense of humor, his passion for rodeo and the youth of our community, as well as his shrewd business skills.”

After his term as a commissioner, Suhl turned to operating family businesses. The most well-known was the Kissimmee Sports Arena (Suhl’s Rodeo). It opened in 1992 and is a place where many cowboys and cowgirls from all over Central Florida gathered to compete in rodeo events driven by the sheer love of the sport and animals. That passion was shared by Suhl and his family as he initially built the arena for his children to practice their events.

“As someone who developed my rodeo skills by spending many a Friday night at Suhl’s arena, I will always be grateful to Gary and his family,” Hawkins added.

Suhl grew up in Kissimmee in the days when most restaurants were locally owned, today’s major highways, such as U.S. 192, were two-lane roads and Walt Disney had not revolutionized the tourism industry.

Commissioners twice selected him to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board. In recent years, he was a member of the Land Conservation Advisory Board. Among others commitments, he was also on the State Manpower Planning Board, the Canvassing Board, the Emergency Management Service Sunset Law Review Committee, the Property Appraiser Advisory Board and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Advisory Board.

There will be a viewing Monday July 17th from 9am-10am at the Osceola Heritage Park Exhibition building with a 10am service. All are welcome to attend a reception immediately after the service at KSA (Suhls) Rodeo Arena. Osceola Memory Gardens will be handling the arrangements 407-847-2494 and in Lieu of flowers donations can be made to Heartcry Chapel Forward Vision fund in St Cloud.

Source: Osceola County