Susan M. Vize, 71, of Rock Island, passed away at home on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 with her daughters Amy and Joanie at her bedside. A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, April 9, 2021 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Rock Island. Visitation will be held one-hour prior at the church. Inurnment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Rock Island. Following inurnment, a luncheon and celebration of life will be held at a friend’s home (outbuilding) located at 18466 E 40th St., Coal Valley, IL 61240. Memorials may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or the family.
Susan was born June 12, 1949 in Rock Island, daughter of Jean P. and Rose Marie (Langdon) Etzel. Susan married James R. Vize on October 21, 1972. They later divorced. She worked 40 hours a week off campus to put herself through college at Illinois State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in History in 1971. She later completed her master’s degree in English in 1978 at Western Illinois University.
Sue’s love of books and literature led to her 37-year teaching career at Alleman and Assumption Catholic High Schools, Moline High School, Black Hawk College and Rock Island High School, from which she retired in 2009. She taught English, Journalism, Poetry, Greek Mythology and served as yearbook advisor. She was also employed as a book editor with Lingui Systems for a short time.
The impact she had on her students is difficult to put into words as she touched so many lives during her work as a teacher and mentor. Sue was the consummate professional teacher, never imposing her own opinions on the students, and always urging them to think for themselves. She literally opened her home and heart to students and others in need. In 2006, Susan was a recipient of the Quad Cities Master Teacher Award.
Sue was the most loving mother and grandmother, always available for wise and non-judgmental counsel and understanding. Sue rarely missed her grandkids’ sporting events and school functions. As her disease progressed, she would often watch track meets, football and baseball games from her car, where she would beam with pride when the kids came to say hi.
Sue was a devoted woman of God with an undeniable faith, often her catalyst for battling Multiple Sclerosis. Despite the awful pain and physical limitations Sue endured for over 20 years, she maintained a positive attitude and sought to understand God’s plan for her. She always saw the best in everything and everyone and used her tribulations as an opportunity to understand what she should learn from them.
Despite knowing she was near the end of life; Sue was writing a book about her dad’s World War II experiences. The family wishes to offer a special thanks to Shelia Burns for tirelessly assisting Sue with the project and seeing it through to fruition.
Those left to cherish Susan’s memory include her daughters, Joanie Vize, Milan, and Amy O’Neal, Rock Island; grandchildren, CJ Vize, Kiah O’Neal, Vanessa Vize, and Ryan Vize; sisters, Roxanne Harms and Jane Cook; sister of the heart, Janis Shippey; ex-husband James Vize and all of her wonderful, loving friends.
Susan was preceded in death by her parents; grandson and one of the apples of her eye, Devin M. Vize; and sister, Jane Conwell.
Sincere thanks and appreciation are extended to Sue’s CNAs, including Missy Lawson and Ashley Palmer, along with Beacon of Hope Hospice and her Parish Nurse, Rosemary Montez.
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