In Loving Memory

Walter George Rusyniak, Jr. MD

September 22, 1960 - February 9, 2022


Husband, father, son, brother, and friend, Dr. Walter George Rusyniak, Jr., MD, Professor of Neurosurgery, was born September 22, 1960, in Syracuse, New York, and passed away unexpectedly on February 9, 2022. George spent most of his formative years studying the brain in high school, where he would perform scientific projects pertaining to the anatomy of the brain and its functions.  His goal was to become a neurosurgeon.  He graduated from West Hill High School in 1978.  He attended the University of Rochester. He was magna cum laude for undergraduate and early acceptance for medical school, then went on to complete a residency in neurological surgery.  He also completed a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, specializing in epilepsy surgery.

George married Sue on July 11, 1992, in Rochester, NY.  They had one daughter, Alexandra.  George was a dedicated husband and father. His greatest joy in life was to spend time with his wife & daughter.  They made him proud every day and he couldn’t be happier than to be their biggest cheerleader.

After his training, George practiced as a board-certified neurosurgeon in Rome, GA, Utica, NY, and then at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. He most recently became a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama, an achievement he was most proud of.  There have been countless patients, students, co-workers who have benefited from George’s technical skills, compassion, and love for teaching.

George enjoyed traveling.  His favorite places were Sanibel/Captiva Island, Positano, Italy, snowboarding in Keystone, CO, cycling through French Alps and climbing Alpe d’Huez. He traveled to numerous grand slam tennis tournaments.  He achieved the highest levels in tennis, biking, running and karate.  But a favorite for George was playing chess.  He achieved a Master ranking, was considered a chess expert, and traveled all over to chess tournaments.  He also coached and mentored young chess players with the Bayside Chess Club. George was a huge Rolling Stones fan and was disappointed he could only see 6 concerts in the last 2 years.

George is survived by his loving wife, Suzanne (Thompson) Rusyniak, of 29 years; daughter, Alexandra Rusyniak (David Hyde); mother, Antoinette (Ranalli) Rusyniak, Syracuse, NY; brother, Anthony Rusyniak (Ellen); nephew Spencer, Homer, NY; sister, Mary Rusyniak, (Robert Majoli) Malibu, CA; mother-in-law, Beverly Thompson, Rochester, NY; brother-in-law, Jim Thompson (Lisa); niece, Shannon, Rochester, NY; along with other family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his father, Walter Rusyniak, Sr. and father-in-law, Edward Thompson.

A gathering to celebrate George’s life will be held at Strada Mia, 313 N. Geddes St., Syracuse, NY, on Saturday, March 12, 2022, from 6-8PM.  A private interment will be held in Fairhope, AL.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to The Stray Love Foundation, P.O. Box 76, Magnolia Springs, AL 36555, or The University of South Alabama, College of Medicine.

“The sun has set on an amazing life.” 
Expressions of condolence for the family may be made at Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL.


  1. Lynda and Heinz Drewing

    George lived a lot of life in his short time here. He will be remembered by all those he touched. Our love and sympathy to his family..

  2. Phyllis Ellis

    So sorry to hear of Dr’s passing. Enjoyed working with him.
    Art and Phyllis Ellis, New Hartford, NY.

  3. Joyce Asselta

    I am so very sorry to hear of Dr. Rusyniak’s passing…he was so kind to me in the 6 short years I worked with him.

  4. Dee Spencer

    I’m so heartbroken to hear the news… George was such a great friend and tennis partner to chuck in his time in Rochester… Susan sending much love and prayers to you and your family. He will always be remembered as the best .

  5. Seth Heacock Jr

    Very sorry to hear this news! George was one of the greatest individuals I have ever have met. Passionate, kind, caring, amazingly intelligent, and a great friend to our family. Thank you George! Forever grateful and your spirit will live on in all of us!

  6. Lakenji reed

    Dr Walter save my husband life. The best doctor ever. Will be truly missed

  7. Danielle Isen

    I had the privilege to rotate in neurosurgery with Dr. Rusyniak for a month. He was such a kind person and wonderful mentor. I am so sorry to learn of his passing.

  8. Zachary Lazzari

    Dr. Rusyniak made the biggest impact of any physician over my time at South. His guidance has changed my life. I’ll think of him when listening to The Rolling Stones and cherish my memories. Our entire community has suffered a huge loss, but none greater than his family. May you receive comfort in your sadness and find peace and love in those you cherish.

  9. Chuck and Mickie Carraway

    Chuck and I just learned of Dr. Rusyniak’s passing, and are so sad and sorry for his loss. We are especially grateful for his medical expertise in caring for Chuck. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you all!

  10. Jennifer F

    It is with great sadness to hear of Dr. Rusyniaks’s passing. He was my Neurosurgeon for 8 years and helped me tremendously. He was truly an amazing surgeon. The Rusyniak family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. Mark Bartowski

    My thoughts and prayers go out to your family during this time of sorrow. I met George through his brother Tony on a boat trip on Skaneateles Lake. May he rest in peace.

  12. Carey

    Dr. Rusyniak saved my dads life. I still think of him often with so much gratitude. This is a big loss, my condolences.

  13. Susan Kopcik

    Dr. Rusyniak saved my husband’’s life 11/8/2001 in Utica New York after a massive ruptured brain aneurysm. He was a brilliant, compassionate and kind neurosurgeon. He was wonderful to our children and family. We will never forget him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  14. Roy Faron McKinley

    I will miss seeing the good Doctor each year for my annual visit. I had surgery in 2018 and have had follow-up visits with him since. I am so saddened to hear of his passing, and his position will be hard to fill. My, what a shocker!! I send condolences to his wife and the family. May the Lord provide the comfort that is needed during this difficult time. He was the best!!!

  15. Tracy Coleman

    So sorry to hear about the passing of Dr.RusyniakHe performed surgery on my granddaughter at Women & Children’s hospital.Sending our prayers and condolences to the family.

  16. Bob Evans

    Will miss this kind and very talented physician and man …..he was a good tennis friend of mine during his Utica days and we had some wonderful memorable matches on the beautiful setting at his court that he loved out on Skaneateles Lake

  17. Wendy Armstrong

    Such a sad time. Dr. Rusyniak was a wonderful person.I can still remember him interviewing me for a job as his RN at Adirondack Neurosurgery in Utica. He made the process so easy and welcomed me with the biggest smile and warm handshake back in 1999. I have so many wonderful memories with him and his family. They treated me and my family like their own. Much love to you Sue and Alexandra. I can’t begin to imagine the void that you are experiencing. RIP great Dr.. Love, The Armstrong’s, Wendy, Dan, Noah, Zoe and Sophia

  18. Angela Watson

    He was such a caring, empathetic, and wonderful doctor. I’m so heartbroken to hear of his passing .
    Thoughts and prayers to his family and close friends. He will truly be missed.

  19. Laurance Mitrenga

    Dr. Rusyniak is the reason I am able to walk today. I was only 30 years old in 2018 when I was involved in a wreck that broke my neck and I honestly don’t think that any other doctor could have repaired me the way The Dr. did. This is truly unexpected and a great tragedy because I owe him more than he knows. My prayers go up for the family and friends on this incredibly talented man. RIP

  20. Mary Busby

    I worked for Dr. Rusyniak when he and Sue first moved to Rome. He was great to work with and I’m shocked just coming across his obituary. His name came up when I was at our local hospital for a visit. The nurse asked me if I had known Dr. when he was here? I smiled and said yes. She shared a story of how wonderful he was to her when he found a brain tumor in her Mother. I listened and shared a couple of similar stories from working with him and just how much he cared for his patients. That’s how I ended up finding out he had passed. My heart goes out to Sue and all the family. I pray for them to find peace somehow. Please remember how he lived his life and how much love and respect people had for him.

  21. Susan rotch

    Rest in peace. Prayers for his family. He was such a wonderful surgeon and a compassionate man. He brought us so much comfort during our time of sadness.

  22. Maria giglio Utica ny

    My favorite dr
    He saved my grandson who had a head trauma from a car accident
    Then he saved me from having brain surgery many years ago
    He gave me advice he he said as if He would give to his own mother
    Then I knew it was the best advice
    So so sorry for his family

  23. Temeaka Blackmon

    Dr. Rusyniak. My doctor and a friend. I am saddened to know you have passed away. Dr. you gave me my quality of life back when your team and you performed my right temporal lobe removal in November of 2012 for my seizures. Dr. you was a Heaven sent Dr. and I know God greeted you with open arms in Heaven and said job well done here on earth. I will never ever forget you and your healing hands and your knowledge to cease my seizures now going on 11 years seizures free hallelujah. I’m thankful and truly blessed by the best and of course it was you. I have bragged so much about you in these past years of the Dr. who save my life and performed a miracle of what my mother requested in 2012. And I know my mom who is also in Heaven now is still rejoicing over my miracle surgery you did…So continue to rest in peace Dr. Rusyniak. My Hero


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