• 1509
  • More

In loving memory of my mother, Shirlee Parnell Sussman

In loving memory of my mother, Shirlee Parnell Sussman

Ten years have passed since we said goodbye to a remarkable woman, my mother, Shirlee Parnell Sussman. She was not just a shining light in our lives but the very heart and soul of our family, and her memory continues to inspire us every day.

My mother, Shirlee, age 79 at the time of her passing on Monday, September 30, 2013, in Gilbert, Arizona, had a life filled with purpose and dedication. Together with her late husband, Wilbur B. Sussman, she was a driving force behind Wilshire Enterprises. Their hard work and commitment left an indelible mark on our lives and our community.

For our family, she was more than just a loving mother. She was a dedicated member of Precious Blood Catholic Church and a proud graduate of the Kiser High School class of 1952. Her active involvement in the Northmont Rotary Club, including serving as its Past President, showcased her unwavering commitment to service, a value she instilled in all of us.

What truly set my mother apart was her relentless advocacy for the Rotary International Polio Plus program. Her battle with polio began at the tender age of two, providing her with a unique perspective into the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. Her strength and determination in living with polio were a constant source of inspiration and admiration for our family.

Her personal experience also made her a powerful delegate for The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the Reagan administration. My mother's insights and unwavering dedication played a pivotal role in helping President Reagan achieve his goals for people with disabilities, a testament to her passion and commitment.

But her dedication didn't stop there. As I faced the daunting challenges of living with HIV, my mother was my unwavering pillar of support. She helped me survive AIDS and navigate the complexities of medical situations I encountered over my 25 years of fighting HIV. Her love, care, and strength during those difficult times were nothing short of extraordinary.

I will forever cherish the memory of the day I was admitted to Covenant House Nursing Home in Trotwood, Ohio. It was a decision that allowed my parents to go on vacation for ten days without worrying about me. Little did I know then that it would be one of the best decisions I ever made, for so many reasons.

Over the ongoing timeline, you will see just how many reasons I have to be thankful for Covenant House Nursing Home, which was owned and operated at the time by The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton and the teams behind it. I made lifelong friends among the staff and met some of the most amazing people in my life who were on their final earthly journey before leaving for the eternal one.

As we remember my beloved mother, Shirlee Parnell Sussman, on this tenth anniversary of her passing, let us carry forward her spirit of service, resilience, and dedication to making the world a better place. She may be gone, but her legacy lives on in our hearts and in the lives she touched, especially mine, as her child. Her unwavering support during my health battles reminds me of the power of love and family, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

💓 1
Comments (0)
Login or Join to comment.