‘Gramma Sue’ offered ‘love, lessons and care’

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Susan Perry
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With the Dec. 29 passing of Susan Mashak Perry, 72, of Hampton, finally settling in, many in the Granville community are reminiscing on the longstanding impact left by her.

Perry’s obituary said she is survived by her four children, several siblings and nine grandchildren in whom she found “great joy.”

Outside of her grandchildren by blood, many in the area referred to Perry as “Gramma Sue” for her caring attitude and involvement in community affairs.

One location close to Perry’s heart was the place of her passing, Haynes House of Hope.

Perry was a board member to the end-of-life-care facility until her passing, referring to the home as her “happy place.”

“I saw it as she was in the environment she wanted to be in with the people she wanted to be with,” said former Haynes House director and current board member Carol Finke. “She was the epitome of peace and comfort at the house.”

Finke added that Perry’s contributions at SUNY Adirondack as a professor and her volunteer role at Haynes house from 2015 until she passed left a lasting footprint for her students to follow in.

“Her dedication to the nursing profession can be seen in the quality of nurses that she taught,” Finke said. “She passed on her love for the nursing and patients and caring of residents to other people with a sense of humor.”

Current director Bonnie Underwood learned nursing lessons directly from Perry and was grateful to have been there for Perry’s last moments. Underwood recalled Perry, an avid bird watcher, letting out a deep sigh surrounded by family and passing shortly after hearing two eagles were spotted outside.

“I learned so much from her just being around her,” Underwood said.

Chair of the Haynes House board Joanna Prouty called Perry’s dedication to nursing and Haynes House “exemplary”, as Perry was often the organizer and scheduler for Haynes House fundraisers.

“She was hands-on for as long as she could be,” Prouty said.

Through numerous sources close to Perry, it was determined that Perry, a retired nurse who graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Castleton University in Castleton, Vermont and her Master’s Degree from Russell Sage College in Troy, had a deep love and passion for interacting with others, especially her family that always came first in decision-making.

Perry was an avid supporter of the Granville Central School District where she sat on the Board of Education from July 2017 until her passing. In 2020, Perry was reelected to the board with her term expiring in 2023.

Board president Audrey Hicks compiled a list of quotes from active board members on their thoughts of Perry. The board honored Perry at its Jan. 10 meeting, stating her presence and contributions will be dearly missed.

“She was quiet, but when she spoke, you listened,” one board member said.

“Her passion was nursing and she was always willing to pass on her experiences to others,” another board member said.

“Sue was a very dedicated school board member. The education of the district students was a top priority for her. She was a fighter and tough. I marveled at her always being at meetings, knowing she was so sick,” a third board member said.

Hicks was impressed by a board member’s compelling words in reference to Perry despite not being on the board for very long.

“It was my pleasure to get to know Sue. As a newly elected Board of Education member, she made me feel right at home immediately. I hope that I can have as positive an influence in my work on the Board of Education as Sue had on me,” the anonymous board member said. “Thank you, Sue, for your life full of service to others. Your presence will be greatly missed.”

Granville superintendent Tom McGurl took the time to speak over the phone on Jan. 5 to express his gratitude for Perry. McGurl said Perry was the embodiment of the word “commitment” as she tuned into board meetings in-person and virtually as her health declined.

“I’m fond of all of my board members and district members but I was especially fond of Sue,” McGurl said. “A really, really kind person. An incredibly sharp wit that I will certainly miss.”

McGurl credited Perry for being an individual who could take complex policies and rulings and make them understandable to anyone, including himself, as she often served as a voice of reason.

“She boiled it down to the meat and potatoes of what you need to know,” he said. “There are some people who tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Sue told you what you need to hear.”

Additionally, Perry was an active member of the Granville Lioness Club and the Hampton Town Planning Board.

“Lives are forever changed by the love, lessons and care she provided, and our hearts are broken by the loss, but thankful for the blessing that she was,” Perry’s obituary said.

Perry’s full obituary can be read online at https://nyvtmedia.com/2022/01/03/susan-mashak-perry/