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PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- The petroleum industry lost a valuable member earlier this week, when Mike Sroda, who most recently served as the West Coast wholesale marketing manager for ConocoPhillips before retiring in 2003, died after battling brain cancer late Tuesday.
"Mike was the kind of man that made everyone who met him 'better' for the experience. He was genuine, kind, intelligent and took the time to get to know people and care. He was willing to mentor anyone who asked, and had a wealth of knowledge about our industry," said Cindy Lewis, Sroda's administrative assistant from 1997 until his retirement from ConocoPhillips.
Sroda spent 40 years in the petroleum industry, holding various positions at a number of companies. Sroda came to ConocoPhillips when Tosco Refining Co. was purchased by Phillips Petroleum Co., which merged with ConocoPhillips in 2001, according to the company's Web site.
Before joining Tosco, Sroda worked for Circle K, where he joined as the petroleum marketing manager and was later promoted to the position of vice president petroleum procurement.
He also spent time with Texaco in roles such as assistant division manager and district manager.
"Mike was very caring about everyone around him. It made no difference if you were a janitor or a CEO. He greeted everyone as though they were his friend, and knew no strangers. I cannot tell you how many times he would walk down a hall, street or into an elevator and leave everyone around him with a smile," Lewis told CSNews Online.
She continued: "This is the truest statement that I can make -- it is such a blessing and honor to have had this man as a mentor and a friend. I am definitely a better person for having known him -- I am certainly not the only person that feels this way. I feel that I echo the sentiments of many, many people."
Sroda is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, their three children, Matthew, Melanie and Michelle, son-in-law Todd and grandson Luke.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorials be made to funds in Sroda's name to the following organizations:
-- Mission of Mercy "In Memory of Mike Sroda" at PMB 134, 5555 N. 7th St. Ste. 134, Phoenix, Ariz. 85014
-- Barrows Neurological Foundation "In memory of Mike Sroda for Brain Tumor Research" 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, Ariz. 85013.
A visitation will be held on Sunday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with the Rosary beginning at 8:00 p.m. at Messinger Mortuaries, 7601 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz. Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at St. Patricks Church 10815 N. 84th St. Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cards of condolences can be sent to: The Sroda Family 7160 Belmont Ave., Paradise Valley, Ariz., 85253.