Last Monday we got some shattering news.

Our friend, Sue Roush had died.

It took a while to sink in. Our friend for many years would no longer be around.

My first thought was for her family. If ever there was a stronger family around, I didn’t know them. Her husband, Dr. Clark, absolutely adored her and referred to her as The Queen. Her two sons, Matt and Mitch were close as well. hen there was Sophia, her beautiful, sassy and charming granddaughter. Her two daughters-in-law couldn’t be any closer and perfect mates to her sons. She welcomed them both into the family with open arms.

Sue found out about her bout with pancreatic cancer a while back. This news hit me hard since my dear friend Mary Ethel Emanuel died of this horrible disease several years back. I saw firsthand how that disease gives no warning and can spread easily as it did with Mary Ethel.

Sue was a different story. She found out as much information as she could and looked at all sort of treatments. She had great progress and it seemed like things were looking her way. Her hair came back a beautiful silver gray and she never lost her spirit.

I met Sue through the Yorkshire Playhouse. She had portrayed “Sheila” in the first production of The Boys Next Door with Bob. While I never saw the original production, Bob tells me they had a ball. I met her shortly after moving to York some 20 years ago. I found her to be funny, upbeat and so talented.

Her sons each took their cue from their parents and followed them on the stage. I had the pleasure of directing Matt in a show. He too was professional, hearty and of course — multi talented. I’ve seen both Clark and Mitch too in shows with great response. In fact, we loved it when Clark and Sue were in the audience. Both had infectious laughs and seemed to have a great time at the shows. We could tell when they were in the audience.

She loved those boys so much...and vice-versa. Both gave very emotional speeches at her service, as did Renee, Matt’s wife, this weekend. Mitch took her community spirit to heart with his work with the library, and his wife Marissa and daughter Sophia are wonderful. When I look at little Sophia, I see a mini Sue. She adored her grandma and they did so much together. There are so many of her traits starting to come through and she will be an asset to our community.

Sue loved to cook and son Matt has taken on that trait. He and his wife Renee are in Colorado and he is really making a name for himself in the culinary world. She would be so proud of both of them.

The last time I talked to Sue was Christmas Eve. I was dressed as Santa and we were visiting some of their neighbors. I noticed Mitch and Marissa’s car at Clark and Sue’s so we thought it would be nice for Santa to come see Sophia. Needless to say she was caught off guard but loved Santa. We laughed a lot and I got her list. I talked to Sue and Clark briefly and she looked fantastic. In typical Sue response, I got a detailed email a day or two after telling me how Sophia loved it that Santa came to visit her and how nice it was to keep in touch.

Last summer when I had my strokes, I got a lovely note from her stating that if I needed anything, to let her know. Typical. Here she was with a life threating disease and all she did was think of me and contact me. We later gathered at our coffee shop to catch up on life. I cherish that time.

This past weekend we had a Celebration of Life for her at the Country Club. My buddy Madonna Mogul contacted the family and made all the plans for them…a gesture they really treasure. There were over 400 people in attendance and another 700 watching it online thanks to Mitch. That is an amazing number of people around the country that she touched.

That theme was going through the whole service -- that Sue had personally touched so many and really gave you the time of day when it mattered most. I can vouch for that. Sue had planned the whole service. From the prayers, poems, songs and scripture readings, it was all her. It really was a beautiful and appropriate send off for her.

I think of how her loss will be felt with the community, Concordia College, York College and especially her family. I know Sue would want everyone to carry on but it’s going to be tough. I know how Mitch, Matt and especially Clark will feel. We all can rest assured we all have great memories of her. We know how she felt about things and we will miss her upbeat infectious laugh.

So good-bye my friend. I know I’m a better person because you were my friend, and I will miss you very much.

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