Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Live Streaming of Sue VanderWaal's Memorial Service

Visitation and Memorial Service
Visitation for Sue VanderWaal will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 5–8 p.m. in the Pioneer Memorial Church Youth Chapel. The Memorial Service will be held Thursday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. in Pioneer Memorial Church.

Live Streaming
Sue's memorial service will be live streamed at Please share this link with those who are unable to attend in person.

Educational Fund Established for VanderWaal Children
An opportunity to contribute to an educational fund for Sue's children has been set up by friends and colleagues at


Sue VanderWaal, wife of Curt VanderWaal, research professor of social work and chair of the Department of Social Work, died Sabbath, Feb. 22, after a hard-fought, two-year battle with cancer. Sue and Curt have three children, Michael and Ben, who are students at Andrews University, and Emma, who attends Village Adventist Elementary School.

Condolences and memories may be posted in the comments below. Please remember the family and friends of Sue in your prayers as they mourn her loss.

Susan Denise Copin VanderWaal was born on October 27, 1964, as the youngest child of John and Edith Copin of Hickory Corners, Mich. She joined older siblings John, Jeanne and Teresa.

Sue grew up in the Battle Creek area and attended elementary and secondary school at Battle Creek Academy, from which she graduated in 1982. She continued her education at Andrews University and Lake Michigan College, receiving an associate degree from LMC and achieving her RN in 1985. She subsequently completed her BS from the University of Michigan and her Master of Science in Nursing with a clinical specialization from Andrews University.

In elementary school, one grade ahead of her, Sue met Curtis Jon VanderWaal. They completed school, worked at summer camp together, and married in Urbandale, Mich., on June 16, 1985. Sue was happy to expand her family to include Curt’s parents, Pat and Neal, and his siblings, and they became very dear to each other.

Together Sue and Curt continued their education and started their professional careers. Sue first embraced her vocation of caring for babies at the University of Michigan hospital, in the continuing care nursery. When the VanderWaals moved to the Berrien Springs, Mich., area in 1990, Sue began work at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Ind., where she pursued her career for the next 24 years. She began as a staff nurse, worked as a primary nurse, and later managed the unit’s computer systems and services. She also served as assistant unit director. In the course of her career, she was responsible for hands-on care of her tiny patients, training of new staff, transporting babies to and from the hospital, parent education and helping to administer the unit. Her colleagues universally remember her and speak of her as compassionate, patient, intelligent—a versatile, gifted nurse. Sue was especially empathetic to the stress of the new parents and bonded with many of them, keeping in touch through the unit’s annual family reunions at which she was rewarded by seeing her “babies” growing up happy and robust.

Sue and Curt welcomed their own babies into their family, beginning with Michael Jon in 1991, then Benjamin Edward in 1995, and Emma Denise in 2001. A devoted mother, Sue helped out at school, cheered them on at many games, supported their participation in the Berrien County Youth Fair, nurtured their many interests, helped take care of their animals, loved and “adopted” their friends, and loved each child unconditionally. Sue and Curt loved to travel with their family throughout the United States and also to Europe.

In early 2012, Sue and her family learned that she had breast cancer. She fought valiantly through surgeries, radiation and chemo, and enjoyed every minute with family and friends. But the disease progressed to her brain and spine, and Sue lost her battle on Saturday, February 22, 2014. She was tenderly nursed through the final days of her illness by her family and especially her dear friends Connie Guerra and DeEtta Chen.

Sue was preceded in death by her mother, Edith Copin, in 1981. She is survived by her husband Curt, her children, Michael, Benjamin and Emma (all at home), her father John Copin and her stepmother Della, her brother John (Ruth Ann) Copin, her sisters Jeanne (Dale) Dent and Teresa (Mark) Cope, her father and mother-in-law Neal and Patricia VanderWaal and their children, Greg (Kimberly), Gail (James) Micheff, Robert (Jennifer), and Chris (Macie), many nieces and nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews, and a myriad of friends.

Donations in Sue’s memory may be made to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Hospital of South Bend, c/o Diane Freel, 615 N Michigan Street, South Bend, IN 46601.


So sad about the passing of Sue. My condolences to the entire family. I did not know her, but knew of her through my son Bevon at Andrews university. He became good friends with her son Ben. From the wonderful person Ben is,h is Mother must have been a great lady. Bernadette Ferdinand Waters.
Posted by: Anonymous
04/30/2014 at 11:23 PM
Just so sad to hear about Sue. I have so many sweet memories of you both. Ed and I are so sorry for your loss. Jan and Ed Culp
Posted by: Anonymous
02/28/2014 at 5:32 PM
Praying for you and your family.
Posted by: Anonymous
02/27/2014 at 4:48 PM
Dear Curt, today you and your children are in my constant thoughts and prayers. I pray that you will feel the warmth of God's spirit on this cold day, through the peace that passes understanding and through the reaching out of so many people who care deeply for you. Stephen and I have been praying for your family for a long while and now the focus will shift. We will continue to keep each of you lifted up as you begin the journey of what's next. Hugs to all of you.
Posted by:
Dalry B Payne

02/27/2014 at 11:12 PM
Curt, Condolences on your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. Daryl McMullen Granger, IN
Posted by: Anonymous
02/27/2014 at 10:59 AM
Dr. Vanderwaal, My dear condolences to you and your family. I have a sincere sorrow in my heart. I have prayed since the beginning and will continue to pray for you and your family. The Lord is always with you all and according to His promises will continue to comfort you and keep you in His loving arms. May God richly send His love, peace and Spirit to give you encouragement in this time of need. Will be there at the Memorial service. Your student.
Posted by:
Lynouse Saint-Louis

02/26/2014 at 10:27 PM
Curt, I remember coming "home" to the Ann Arbor church to visit my Mom and catching up with you/Sue each time, while you were there for school/work. It was nice to see familiar faces and have some younger people @ the church. Also I remember working @ good ole' Camp AuSable together. What a fun place. You are/have been in our prayers. May God's peace be with you as you go thru this difficult time. jane/dave sherwin :)
Posted by: Anonymous
02/26/2014 at 4:07 PM
Curt, we can't fathom the loss that you and your children are experiencing. All we can do is to continue to support you through our prayers and be their for you as needed. The HR department has continued to hold you and your children in our prayers knowing that the source of all comfort and hope is ultimately our Redeemer, Resurrection and Life. May His presence be with you now and in the days to come. The HR Department
Posted by: Anonymous
02/26/2014 at 10:23 AM
Our family has been praying for Sue and your whole family during the past months. I was sad to learning of her death. We will continue to pray for you and your children that you may have strength, comfort and courage for the days to come
Posted by:
Eileen Lesher

02/26/2014 at 09:44 AM
I was very sad to learn of the passing of your wife. I really didn't know her but I still remember how kind and helpful both of you were at the airport several years ago. We have been praying for Sue and your whole family in our departmental worships as well as our family worships. We will continue to lift you and your family up in our prayers for strength and comfort for the days to come.
Posted by: Anonymous
02/26/2014 at 09:34 AM
We are sad to hear of you loss. Your family is in our prayers
Posted by: Anonymous
02/26/2014 at 07:45 AM
Curt, Ben, Michael, and Emma, There are no words to describe the feeling of losing someone. The words from others might not heal the pain of losing that one person you loved. You can forever keep her in your thoughts and memories, they live forever. May God’s grace and blessings support you in this time of great loss. With care and comfort
Posted by: Anonymous
02/25/2014 at 7:57 PM
Dear Kurt, My wife and I are very sorry to learn that Sue has passed away. As you know, she was in our prayers for a long time. We kept praying for her until the end. We know it is impossible for us to grasp the intensity of the sadness you and your children and her parents experience, but want you to know that we have been praying for strength and healing as you deal with this difficult time. We know you rest on the hope, and assurance, and certainty of Jesus' coming, but we know also that sadness is an inevitable part of the present moment. So we pray that you will find comfort knowing that God is with you, carrying your sadness with you in his heart as well! With our deepest regards, Emilio and Cecilia
Posted by:
Emilio Garcia-Marenko

02/25/2014 at 5:29 PM
Curt, it has been a pleasure working with you. I am sorry I did not have the privilege of knowing Sue but after reading her Obituary I know that she was a wonderful mother, friend, wife and co-worker. My heart goes out to your family during this storm in your lives. My prayers are with you, Ben, Emma and Michael. May God send his blessings down to shower upon you and your family during this difficult time. Elynda Bedney
Posted by: Anonymous
02/25/2014 at 4:44 PM
Dear Curt, my colleague, Michael and Ben, my students, and Emma, the one I am yet to meet, I am very sorry and deeply moved by your loss. May you be strengthened by Jesus' promise that one day, very soon, on that Morning, you will see your mother again. I live in that hope myself since I have also lost both of my parents. When you lose a dear one so close, there suddenly an empty space appears in your life, a hole that only Jesus Christ can and will fill. I pray that you lean on God's promises, on the support and friendship of many people in this community, and if you need help in any form let me and my wife know so that we can help to the best of our abilities. May God sustain you in these moments of sorrow. Accept mine and my wife's condolences. With love, John and Vesna Markovic
Posted by:
John Markovic

02/25/2014 at 3:32 PM
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Dave Village
Posted by: Anonymous
02/25/2014 at 2:25 PM
Curt, we're incredibly saddened by your loss. May God strengthen you and your family during this difficult time. Looking forward to resurrection morning! Kevin Wiley
Posted by: Anonymous
02/24/2014 at 1:38 PM
Sorry for your loss, may God be your comforter during this time. I will uphold your family in my daily prayers
Posted by: Anonymous
02/24/2014 at 11:30 PM
Praying for you and your children, may you be able to get strength from our Heavenly Father. We just need to continue holding on to Him and His promises until the day of His return... Lorena
Posted by: Anonymous
02/24/2014 at 11:08 PM
I'm very sorry to hear of your loss, Dr. VanderWaal, but I'm glad that we share the hope of seeing Sue again in a world with no more sickness and loss. Blessings on you and your children as you go through this hard time.
Posted by:
Karen Johnson-McWilliams

02/24/2014 at 10:05 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss Dr. Vanderwaal. You and your family are in our prayers. Gabriela Paz
Posted by: Anonymous
02/24/2014 at 09:39 AM
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18: May God's perfect love keep your minds and hearts always!
Posted by: Anonymous
02/23/2014 at 11:11 PM
I pray that the Lord the source of hope will strengthen you through your loss and will provide you and your children with the coping mechanism you need in this tough moment. Allens Gilles
Posted by: Anonymous
02/22/2014 at 9:07 PM
Words are inadequate to express my sorrow for your loss. Curt may you and your children find comfort in knowing that you have a forest of friends who stand with you during this time of loss to give you and shade and shelter during this time of sadness. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Timothy & Sandria Nixon
Posted by: Anonymous
02/22/2014 at 6:58 PM
Being the ones left behind is hard. So many memories and such loneliness make the days hard to endure. Your family is being lifted up to Jesus in prayer even as the eagle rises to the sky, or as the smoke rises above the fire. Up up to the Heavens. With Love, Veronica
Posted by: Anonymous
02/22/2014 at 5:04 PM
We have been praying for you faithfully. May God hold you tightly during your strong times of grief, and sooth the pain. Lovingly, the Rorabecks: John, Christine, John Henri, Anna, and Richard Rorabeck
Posted by: Anonymous
02/22/2014 at 4:54 PM
So very sorry for your loss Curt. Praying for you and your family. Carrie Kray
Posted by: Anonymous
02/22/2014 at 4:13 PM
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sue. We pray for strength and comfort to Curt, Michael, Ben, and Emma. What a grand reunion it will be on that Golden Morning.
Posted by:
Wanda Swensen

02/22/2014 at 3:48 PM

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