Susan Carole Hallahan, age 80, died in her adopted hometown of Coupeville, Washington, on February 2nd , 2023.
Susan was born in Toledo, Ohio, on October 24th, 1942, daughter of U.S. Army aviator George Matthew Warner and wife Dorothy Elizabeth (Wagner). After the war, the family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where George and Dorothy were from. Blonde hair won her the toddler nickname “Susie Sunshine.” She had a happy upraising, crowded into their one-bathroom house with seven siblings. Her shared attic bedroom got so cold during winter that she would sometimes wake to a frozen bedside table water glass. Her warmest childhood memories were of her father’s boating and hunting trips, wild game dinners that her mother prepared, and zany times with siblings.
Susan was a proud member of Rosary High School’s class of 1960, and Detroit Providence Hospital’s School of Nursing, class of 1963. She made lifelong friendships with some of these women. Susan married William J. Hallahan of New York in 1964. The marriage produced three boys before the young family undertook a series of moves to California, Wisconsin, and back to California. During this time, she established a wide-ranging career as a Registered Nurse, with experience in allergy medicine, surgery, and ophthalmology. After her marriage ended and children began leaving for college, Susan returned to the Detroit area to care for her aging mother and live near siblings. Following her mother’s death, the pull of grandchildren inspired a final move to Whidbey Island, in 2005. There, Susan joined St. Mary’s Catholic Church and a group called Newcomers Enjoying Whidbey, while volunteering at Whidbey General Hospital’s gift shop.
Susan loved sewing, as many Christmas photos attest, young sons dressed in different-colored homemade pajamas. Sewing Halloween costumes for grandchildren delighted her, as did attending their recitals, playing board games, and baking cookies. She was also proud to have survived breast cancer at age 41, determining to educate everybody about BRCA gene mutations which make some particularly susceptible. A lifelong healer, Susan was quickly moved by the suffering of others. She gave generously to family and strangers alike. Susan had always wanted to go to Hawaii, but decades in the operating room took a toll on her mobility. She finally got to Maui as an 80th birthday present, where she reveled in the sand, breezes, and sounds of Hawaii, but also showed the first symptoms of the cancer which took her five months later.
Susan was preceded in death by her parents and sister Delores, and is survived by sons Bill (Fredericksburg, Va), Chris (Gilroy, Ca), and Bob (Oak Harbor, Wa), sisters Arlene (Ca), Mary Ellen (Va), Theresa (Mi), Dotty (Mi), and Patti (Mi), brother George (Mi), grandchildren Ligia (Ca), Dana (Oh), Jacob (Mn), Matt (Vt), Rory (Va), Justine (Va), and four great-grandchildren (Ca).
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s in Coupeville, 10am on February 16th . A Life Celebration near Detroit is planned in March. In lieu of flowers, Susan requested donations to Coupeville’s Women of St. Mary organization, or Doctors Without Borders.