Suzanne Economou: 1921 – 2019: A Happy, Feisty and Positive Force

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Suzanne Economou

Suzanne Economou died Tues., Sept. 24, at The Vistas Assisted Living and Memory Care in Redding. She was 98.

Born Suzanne Winifred Stewart on July 2, 1921, in Salida, Colo., she was the only daughter of Leet and Winifred Wenz Stewart, also parents to Suzanne’s’s seven older brothers.

She married the love of her life, George Economou, on May 28, 1956, in San Francisco. The newlyweds moved to Redding the same year. They purchased one home in Redding, on North Street, just a few blocks from George’s job at Shasta High where he was a football coach, P.E. teacher and driving instructor.

Suzanne Economou went by many names: Sue, Suzanne, Mrs. Economou, Aunt Sue, Mama Sue, Suegra (mother-in-law in Spanish), Suzie Q, Mom and Grandma.

She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for three years, and later earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from CSU, Chico. She taught at Anderson Junior High School where she was a favorite teacher, known for her kindness, humor and ability to teach girls physical education without knowing much about sports.

“I made up my own rules,” she’d explain with a laugh and a shrug.

After retiring from teaching, Suzanne and George became volunteers at Mercy Medical Center where they gave of themselves for nearly 40 years, and were featured on the hospital’s marketing posters.

George and Suzanne Economou, Mercy Medical volunteers for 40 years.

After George died in 2011, Suzanne volunteered at the Discovery Shop in Redding, in addition to her hospital position.

She was a gifted knitter who effortlessly created intricate sweaters, hats and socks from complex patterns. She loved to shop at thrift stores, where she was on the lookout for porcelain dolls, angels, swans and costume jewelry. She also loved to travel, read and golf, but her favorite activities involved spending time with family and friends.

In 2016 Suzanne moved from her North Street home to the Vistas Assisted Living and Memory Care in Redding where she resided until her death.

In addition to her bright blue eyes, contagious laugh and thousand-watt smile, Suzanne was known for her compassion, intelligence, wit and interest in others. She was upbeat and positive, but was also feisty and could be counted on to speak her mind.

She survived numerous illnesses and ailments throughout her life, including tuberculous. diphtheria, whooping cough, small pox and a fractured back. She lived through the Great Depression, World War II and the Vietnam War. Despite the last few years of declining health, she never complained. She was an attentive, thoughtful hostess. She was a member of the Redding Elks Lodge and its Emblem Club.

She is survived by son Lee Sandusky of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Mark Stewart and daughter-in-law Margaret Mcdonald-Stewart of Ketchum, Idaho;  grandson Gregory Sandusky of Costa Mesa, Calif.; grandson Bobbie Sandusky, grand-daughter-in-law Liz Sandusky and great-grandsons Rob and Henry Sandusky, all of Dallas, Texas; nephew Harry Stewart and wife Dee Stewart of San Jose, Calif., and nephew Dick Stewart and wife Karen Stewart of Jackson, Wyo. She is also survived by many other adoring nieces, nephews and friends.

A celebration of life for Suzanne Economou will be held on Nov. 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Redding Elks Lodge.

Memorial contributions may be made in Suzanne Economou’s name to Mercy Hospice, 1544 Market Street, Redding, CA 96001.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Carla says:

    The world will miss this sweet angel, Heaven gained one. She touched so many lives, especially as a wonderful P E. Teacher.

  2. Avatar Janine Hall says:

    Thank you Doni. I loved Sue. I can remember way back when she wanted me to make her a ring, with turquoise. She was always so kind. I saw her not to long ago and will always remember with kind thoughts.

  3. Avatar Candace C says:

    That smile says it all. My condolences to her family and friends.

  4. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    This description of Mama Sue is spot on. What an amazing woman!
    I can’t believe it’s a week to the day that Mama Sue died. It’s impossible to imagine a world where she is no more. I’m blessed to have known her as a beloved friend: more like a mother, though I’m sure her love gave everyone that impression of closeness. I’m privileged to have known such a remarkable woman as Suzanne Economou, branded upon my heart forever.

  5. Avatar Carrie says:

    Worked with her for many years. Rest in peace, Sue!

  6. Avatar Debbie Davis says:

    Beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman. I wish I had known her, but I “knew” her from the many stories and memories shared about her over the years. She obviously had a big heart to love so many so much!

  7. Deb Segelitz Deb Segelitz says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a woman who seems to have had such sparkle (it shines right through the photos – that smile, those happy eyes!). What a fine person and a lovely woman she must have been, to have touched so many lives so deeply.

  8. Avatar erin friedman says:

    What a full and busy life — thank you for sharing your memories of this spunky lady. A good reminder that the love we give away lives on. Sending condolences, sympathy and love your way.

  9. She did have a sparkle, Deb, and Erin, she was absolutely a spunky lady.

  10. Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

    I’m sorry you lost another good friend, Doni. I didn’t know her, but I felt something when I saw her picture. Then when I saw we share the same birthday, I felt a closeness with her. It’s nice to see she was so loved.

  11. Mrs Economou was an awesome lady I will remember her kindness and spunkiness . I had her for a P.E teacher in high school and she was amazing as a teacher very well loved by all who knew her. Then while working at Mercy Hospital we reconnected and she remembered me from school. She said call me Sue so from then on she was now Sue to me her and George were the cutest couple, They were always holding hands while walking down the Hallway . They shared a special kind of love love for one another. I’m happy they are now together. RIP Sue you will be missed.

  12. Avatar Canda Williams says:

    A beautifully written tribute about a beautiful lady, Doni. I love how Sue was always social and friendly. Whether at the hospital as a volunteer or on a social setting, she genuinely loved people and people were drawn to her. She was 98 years of wonderful ness, and will be dearly missed.