“Lord, we’re sending a good woman back to You. Thanks for letting us have her for a while.”
Suzanne “Suzie” Marie Long passed away peacefully at her home in the loving presence of her husband Jay and her two very best canine friends Abbie and Obie, on April 19, 2018.
Suzie was born on May 23, 1944 in Philadelphia to Paul and Virginia Fournier. She lived in Pacific Beach and San Mateo during her early years before the family bought a home in Ocean Beach in 1948. Other than two years (1950-52) in Tacoma, Suzie grew up in the beautiful community of Ocean Beach. Sadly to say, her father was killed in an explosion on the USS Bennington in 1954 when Suzie was only 10 years old. She attended O.B. Elementary, Dana Junior High and Point Loma High School and graduated with the Pointer Class of 1963. Following high school, she was a student at Mesa Junior College and then San Diego City College where she received her California Beautician’s license. She continued to live in the San Diego area for the next 15 years and had three children by her two marriages to Robert Spellman and Dave Taylor.
Then in 1978, Suzie ventured north to visit friends on Whidbey Island and fell in love with the area. She returned to San Diego, took care of business and then moved to Oak Harbor. Two years later, she met local islander Jay Long in 1980. And then exactly two years later— to the day— Suzie and Jay were married on July 24, 1982 at the Deception Pass State Park Amphitheatre. They shared and did everything together for the next almost 36 years. Besides being married, they were the best of friends and always cherished their time together.
In the summer of 2011, Jay and Suzie moved “Grandma Ginger” from Ocean Beach to their Oak Harbor home and the three of them had lots of fun times together for the next three years before Virginia passed away just shy of her 99th birthday. Suzie was then diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the fall of 2014. For 3 1/2 years she fought a courageous and tough battle against the disease with multiple rounds of chemotherapy. During her final three weeks, she was able to be at home under the guidance of hospice care.
Before joining the Angels in Heaven, Suzie spent her time in this world sharing her heart of gold with everyone. She was one of the most giving and caring persons you could ever meet. She was always thinking about others first—all the time. She insisted on having her services on a Saturday because—just in case, if folks wanted to come, they wouldn’t have to take time off from work on a weekday. That’s just how Suzie was!
Suzie loved life and enjoyed her employment and many activities during her lifetime. When she first came to the island, she was a Jazzercise instructor for five years. Then over the next 25 years—she worked at InterWest Savings Bank, owned and operated her own Country Cottage Gifts store, owned and operated her own home-based business Designs Unlimited, was the retail gift department manager at Island Drug and finally volunteered and eventually worked for Child Protective Services as a transportation/visitation supervisor.
She was a Brownie leader, a Campfire volunteer, spent many years as a volunteer Little League softball coach and also assisted as a volunteer with the program at Oak Harbor High School. She loved being outdoors, was an avid bowler, played softball and volleyball, enjoyed quilting, “crafted” everything imaginable and was a great cook. Both Suzie and Jay are very sports-minded and enjoyed many Mariner baseball games and UW Husky games over the years as well as high school sports. While Jay has been “the Voice of the Wildcats” for football and basketball for the past 28 years, Suzie has been an ardent supporter. She has also been the scoreboard operator for the past several years at the OHHS stadium. Suzie and Jay enjoyed their passion for traveling, too. They went on trips in their convertible, their travel trailer with their doggies and went on several cruise ship vacations the past few years.
Suzie is survived by her husband Jay, sister-in-law Terri Langford, nephews John and Daniel Langford and her nephew and wife Mark and Danielle Wright. Also surviving are sister Paulie Breeding, daughter Kari Kelly, son Ron Spellman, daughter Marci Seek, nephew Steve Wright and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Very special thank you to nurse Alicia and the entire Hospice of the Northwest team and to the wonderful staff at the Merle Cancer Care Center at Island Hospital for their compassion and care. And many thanks to all of our friends who have helped and provided comfort. So very much appreciated!
In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to Hospice of the Northwest (Mount Vernon) or to a local charity of your choice.
A celebration of life will be held in honor of Suzie on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Wallin Funeral Home in Oak Harbor followed by a reception. On behalf of Suzie, it will be totally acceptable to wear casual beach attire to the celebration.