Michael Joseph Sarzen, 74, of Southington, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. He was born on March 6, 1943 in Jamaica, New York to the late Marion (Greenberg) and Edward Sarzen. Michael was the devoted husband of the late Marjorie (Brown) Sarzen, beloved father of Jay (Amy) Sarzen of West Hartford, and the cherished grandfather of Andrew Sarzen. Michael is also survived by his brother Arthur (Jackie) Sarzen and their children Arthur, Lori, Adam and their families, as well as his brother-in-law Richard (Paula) Brown and their children Alex and Melinda and their families.
Michael was raised in Farmington where he developed a lifelong passion for music and sports. Michael played basketball, baseball, and ran track for Farmington High, but it was music in which found his truest talent. He could play nearly any instrument by ear (though he specialized in the clarinet) and was recently teaching himself to play guitar.
After graduating from Farmington High in 1961, Michael moved with his family to New Haven where, shortly thereafter, he found the true passion in his life – his wife Marjorie. Michael and Marjorie wed in January of 1966 to begin their lives together. However, duty called and Michael, by then in the US Army, was deployed in 1967 to Qui Nhon, Vietnam, where he proudly served his country. Michael left Vietnam in 1968 and served stateside for two more years, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. During this time, Michael developed a secondary passion (though some would say obsession) that would serve him well throughout life and would become a thread through many life events– the game of golf.
Once out of the Army, Michael began working in pharmaceutical sales for Hoechst-Roussel. His ability to quickly relate to people led to much success and many accolades over the course of a successful 29-year career as a top sales representative.
His sense of duty extended into his community. Michael served in the Southington Jaycees and ultimately was elected as President of that organization. Michael also served in Rotary, as a volunteer coach in Western Little League & Western Babe Ruth League, and was very involved as a Jaycee in helping to coordinate the carnival portion of the Apple Harvest Festival. These activities led Michael to being named by the Southington Jaycees in 1983 as its “Outstanding Young Man” for that year. For many years, Michael was active with American Legion Post 72 in Southington. Later in life, Michael served on the Board of Directors at Bradley Memorial Hospital and then the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Beyond civic duties, Michael was heavily involved in charitable endeavors. He coordinated numerous charity golf tournaments that, among others, raised funds for scholarships to be distributed by the Waterbury Pharmaceutical Association to aspiring pharmacists; raised funds for diabetes awareness for the American Diabetes Association; and raised funds for the deployment of health care to those who could not afford it for the Bridgeport Community Health Center. Some of Michael’s charitable golf tournaments were directly related to his work, such as his efforts running charity golf tournaments for organizations such as the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
Certainly, Michael kept busy with countless business and civic activities, but the activities he valued most were those he was able to do with his family and friends. He loved to travel with Marjorie (though, not surprisingly, these travels usually included some element of golf) and was always up for a trip to New Haven for a pizza at Sally’s.
While Michael was an active coach for his son’s sports, he was beyond thrilled when his son decided to add golf to his sports repertoire. Michael loved golfing with Jay; the highlight of their golfing relationship was a week of golf (along with his nephew Arthur) in Palm Springs at courses such as Indian Wells, Bermuda Dunes, and PGA West, which preceded the primary reason they were in California: a trip to Super Bowl XXII in San Diego to watch their beloved Washington Redskins take on the Denver Broncos (fortunately, Doug Williams’ heroics in the 2nd quarter made the cross-country red-eye flight home bearable as it was not looking good at the end of the 1st quarter).
Michael’s relationships with his network of friends spawned a great number of stories and anecdotes, many of which were, not shockingly, golf-centered. They are far too numerous to recount here, but Michael was able to enjoy rounds of golf at courses such as Pebble Beach, Baltusrol, and Pinehurst #2 with friends in tow. He cherished these memories not just for the ability to play in these golfing cathedrals, but for the experience of playing golf with people who were very dear to him.
In later years, Michael focused his energies on taking care of Marjorie, who battled a variety of health ailments until her passing in 2012. He had an adoring relationship with his grandson, Andrew, who simply brought unlimited delight to his grandfather whenever they were together. Michael was beyond thrilled that Andrew took up the clarinet as an instrument of choice and was so proud of what he has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. Without question, Andrew provided his grandfather with a reason to keep going, even when it was really tough for him to do so.
Calling hours for Michael will be held on June 10th from 11AM to 1PM at the DellaVecchia Funeral Home, 211 N .Main St. in Southington. At 12:45, there will be a reflection of Michael’s life. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family. Given Michael’s passion for golf, it goes without saying that he would want everyone to squeeze in 9 or 18 before coming to Dellavecchia’s if they want to and are able to do so. Casual or golf attire is encouraged. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the American Heart Association, American Legion Post 72 (Southington), or Disabled American Veterans.