Longtime biology professor Richard Trdan died unexpectedly on Friday, April 6, at the age of 71.
University spokesperson J.J. Boehm said Trdan taught up until last academic year but retired prior to the current academic year.
Born in Minnesota, Trdan went on to teach at SVSU for 40 years. Surviving him are his wife Kathleen, son and two daughters, three grandchildren, several siblings and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service was held on Thursday, April 12, at the Snow Funeral Home.
Trdan earned the nickname “Clam Man of Michigan” and was an avid outdoorsman and protector of the environment. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends by the lake in Minnesota.
One such friend Trdan met through his passion for the outdoors was Spanish professor Ricardo Pastor. The two met during Pastor’s first year at Saginaw Valley College, the previous name of SVSU, in 1977.
The two quickly realized they had a lot in common, like an interest in hunting and fishing. Pastor recalled the two hunting together.
“Deer hunting in the cold snowy days, sometimes with snow up to our knees, walking into the woods at 5 a.m. in the dark,” he said. “We enjoyed it tremendously. We were very cold, but at the sight of the first deer we were sweating. We were rewarded with the pleasure of being in the outdoors, and sometimes with our hunt.”
In addition to deer hunting, the two also spent time duck hunting in the Shiawassee marsh. It was there that Pastor says Trdan’s passion as a biologist really came out.
“It was in the marsh that I became a student of Dr. Trdan,” Pastor said. “I would ask him about plants around us, and he would give me detailed and very interesting explanations. One time I asked him about the corn silk, and he gave me a complete lecture on the reproduction of the plant. It was fascinating.”
Pastor said Trdan was a patient person whose integrity and honesty were second to none.
“What I will remember most about him is his noble friendship,” Pastor said. “I’ll miss my friend of 41 years, I’ll miss my hunting buddy. Hunting and fishing will not ever be the same anymore to me.”