Obituary: Suzanne Eikenberry, 76, longtime Brooklyn activist
Suzanne Eikenberry, long an activist in Brooklyn political and charitable life, is being mourned.
Suzanne (Sue) Robertson Eikenberry passed away in her sleep with family by her side on March 7, 2014.
Sue leaves behind her husband of 55 years, Pete Eikenberry; her sister and brother in law Linda and James Onalfo and their sons Kurt and Clif; her three children and their spouses, David and Lynn Eikenberry of Andover, MA, Douglas and Dawnn Eikenberry of Portland OR, and Kristen Eikenberry and Richard Lamson of Brooklyn; and nine grandchildren: William Eikenberry, 18; Sarah Eikenberry, 16; Henry Eikenberry, 15; Tristen Lamson, 13; Hayden Lamson, 12; Graham Eikenberry, 9; Piper Lamson, 8; Harper Eikenberry 7; and Harris Eikenberry, 6; who will miss her deeply.
Sue was born in Columbus, Ohio on June 30, 1937, and grew up in Barberton Ohio. She graduated at age 16 from Barberton High School, and went on to Sullins Junior College and to Ohio State University, where she graduated in 1958. She met her future husband at Ohio State and they were married August 30, 1958. The family moved to Brooklyn in 1963, and Sue and Pete lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights and, most recently, Boerum Hill. Over the years, Sue was active in many community organizations, including the First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn Community Housing Services, and St Ann’s School.
In 1976, Sue joined the staff at Brooklyn Hospital as a social worker, and completed her Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University in 1977. She was a zealous advocate for the Fort Greene neighborhood, and enjoyed walking past the park to the hospital and assisting as patients many of her Fort Greene neighbors. In the late 80’s when Brooklyn Hospital experienced a tide of premature babies, Sue rallied her friends to knit tiny woolen caps for the babies, donate baby blankets and rocking chairs and volunteer to rock them. The babies enjoyed the love and attention many did not have, and the Brooklyn Hospital “Cuddler Program” was a peak experience for many of the volunteer rockers as well. Following a thirty one year career that spanned many administrations and various roles, Sue retired as the Director of Social Work in 2007.
Sue’s most lasting contributions are in the hearts and lives of her family and those she touched daily in both her professional and personal life. She was a thoughtful, tireless and deeply caring person with a passion for connecting with others. Sue lived a life devoted to helping make the lives of those around her — family, friends, neighbors, community, co-workers and clients — better. Sue was also a true romantic, and will be remembered for her emotional intelligence, for her unfailing optimism and humor, for her generosity, for her remarkable ability to see the best in each person and every situation, and for her understated wisdom. With Sue, a walk on the beach at Sheepshead Bay, in DUMBO, in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens or in the Catskills (or even in the event of a wrong turn on the highway) was an opportunity for adventure, laughter, conversation and connection.
In lieu of flowers, friends may honor Sue by making a donation to one the following: First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn Heights, the Michael J. Fox Foundation at Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 47777 New York, NY 10163; or the Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia, 20 Sidney Place, Suite 3A, Brooklyn, New York 11201.
A memorial service will be held on June 1 at 2:30 pm at the First Unitarian Church on Pierrepont Street and Monroe Place in Brooklyn Heights.
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