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

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

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com 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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