Music 03

Bryan Suits

October 10, 2023

Bryan Suits Obituary

Bryan Suits, 68, of Houghton, Michigan, passed away on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. Bryan

was a husband, father, teacher, researcher, musician, runner, cook/baker, roboticist, puzzle

master, and rocket scientist, among many other roles. He excelled in all of these roles and did

so with curiosity and humility.


Bryan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Gwynn and Ruth (Cheney) Suits. He grew up with his

siblings in a household that valued creativity and hard work. This set the foundation for a lifetime

devoted to understanding the workings of the world and the universe. He attended Carleton

College in Northfield, MN, and earned a PhD in condensed matter physics from the University of

Illinois in Champaign, IL. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of

Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. It was in Northfield where he met his future wife Joan. They

married in 1980 in Illinois. After a brief stay in Philadelphia, they moved to Houghton, MI in



Throughout his 38-year professional career at Michigan Technological University, he won

numerous awards at the local, regional, and national level for both research and teaching. His

career was distinguished and vast. He taught thousands of Huskies over his career in

undergraduate and graduate courses, in topics ranging from general physics to electronics and

the physics of music. He was known to students for making difficult scientific topics inspirational

and engaging. He worked in the United States Naval Research Lab and abroad in advanced

research and development for detecting mines. He was granted multiple patents dedicated to

discoveries from his research related to nuclear resonance imaging. He authored two books,

including the recently published The Physics Behind Music, which united his love of science and

music. For many years, Bryan was the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra's principal flutist and a

frequent soloist and played in many local ensembles. He unearthed and arranged an almost lost

symphony by William Herschel. He also played multiple instruments including the saxophone,

piano, clarinet, violin and theremin. He built multiple instruments for his classes. He qualified for

and completed the 2017 Boston marathon, and was a longtime player in local softball, bowling,

and volleyball leagues. Amateur radio enthusiasts knew Bryan by his callsign, WB8WKN. This is

not even close to an exhaustive list of his accomplishments.


Beyond his many talents, he was also a beloved and devoted spouse, father, and grandfather.

He had a quiet but clever and quick sense of humor. He passed along his sense of curiosity,

patience, determination, and love of learning to all his children, and delighted in their varied

interests and activities. He is survived by Joan, his wife of 43 years; his three sons James,

William (Lauren), and Robert (Emily); beloved granddaughter Nari; his siblings Vivian (Richard),

Peyton (Cathy), and Duston (Linda); and innumerable friends and colleagues. All will remember

him with love and admiration.


At this time, the family plans a celebration of Bryan’s life at a future date.


The family wishes to thank the nursing staff of Aspirus at Home for their compassion and care,

and the friends and neighbors for their gifts of time, food, and love.


The O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements. To leave online condolences, please go to


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bryan Suits, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Bryan Suits?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Bryan's memory.


Services will be held at a later date


© 2023 O'Neill-Dennis Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility