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.
Sue's memorial service will be live streamed at http://www.andrews.edu/livestream/. 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 http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/sue-vanderwaal-s-children-s-scholarship-fund/143353.
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.