Meet Sue: Endlessly Clever, Endlessly Kind


This month’s blog focuses on our Ringwood resident Sue. Community Relations Manager Kate and I sat down with Sue’s husband Vern to discuss her life’s work. Read on below to learn about Sue’s generous heart and inspiring intellect.

Getting to know Sue:

Sue was raised in Melrose Park and grew up to be very proud of her Italian heritage. As a child she liked to visit her relatives' farm where she enjoyed watching the animals. Sue’s mother passed away while she was in high school. Because of this, Sue was very resourceful and developed a thick skin. She put herself through school while working. Sue then continued her education, including earning her Phd and doing several years of postdoctoral work. Sue has five children; three boys and two girls.

Sue met her husband Vern in 2006. Vern fondly recalls how a mutual friend introduced them to each other at a party; and this friend still maintains that it wasn’t a set up. Vern knew he had to get to know her more so he asked her on a date. The two of them ended up on a double date and the other couple talked so much that he only got one question in; “Do you like motorcycles?” Luckily for him, the answer was yes and some time after that, they both arrived at their wedding riding on their respective bikes. It caused quite a stir. Vern recalls “we always had a lot of fun together. She respected my differences and I respected hers.”


Sue at heart:

As we reminisced, we asked Vern to describe some of Sue’s best character traits. Of her many virtues, here were some of the favorites:

Ever since she was young, those around Sue have always been amazed by her brilliant mind. At a gathering with Sue’s fellow scholars, Vern recalls how one colleague admired her talent as a guest lecturer stating “Sue is the smartest person I’ve ever met, including all of my professors. Nobody is smarter than her.” In addition to her PhD, Sue spent several of her post doctorate years on studying cancer prevention. She has had multiple publications over many years in various academic journals and books with a variety of topics ranging from designing software programs for student nurse practitioners to how marketing strategies can be successfully used by practicing nurses. Sue has always been extremely dedicated to her work.

Throughout her life, Sue has had an insatiable curiosity to match her cleverness. One of Vern’s favorite examples was a time when she went out into a local farmer's field to pick clovers to make wine. When asked why, her response was simply, “Well Italians make wine.” Neither Vern or her had any idea what they were doing or how to make it. Vern recalls that it ended up being terrible and you couldn’t really drink it but Sue was so proud of it. They had a lot of fun learning new things like that together.

Sue also had a keen eye for adventure. She loved conservation trail riding and being outside in general. She gained many friendships as she traveled around on trains to commute. She and Vern also took a beautiful trip to the Everglades together.

One of Sue’s most awe inspiring traits is her compassion towards others. While she was still able, Sue loved to donate blood at every chance she could. Additionally, she even gave her own kidney to a stranger after a fellow colleague mentioned a patient who needed a donor who couldn’t find a match. She did this all while just recently having gone through her own surgery. But Sue was adamant, it was the right thing to do. She also developed a software program for hospitals to use and refused to let it be turned into profit. She donated it instead, insisting that it must always be free so everyone could benefit from it.


Fast Facts: A few final fast facts about Sue.

Favorite food:
Anything Italian; her favorite is Spumoni ice cream. Sue also enjoys a good old fashioned hamburger.

Favorite store:
Sue loved to frequent consignment shops. She enjoyed both the money she saved and the fun little trinkets she would find.

Favorite Movies:
Sue liked romantic movies but more of as something to play in the background. She much preferred an engaging conversation instead.

Thank you so much to Vern for taking the time to talk to us about Sue’s generous heart and zeal. Until next time.


Leave a Comment