Sweet and valiant to the end, our beloved Momma died, Thursday, June 27, 2013. An excellent example of humanness-living life with love, passion and service; she felt her greatest accomplishment in life was raising four good citizens. Now, we tearfully bid her adieu! Go in peace!
Susan Galliher Berndt was born in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 1924. She was a graduate of the Madeira School, Greenway, Virginia and earned her BA degree at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1945.
Following college, she worked as a research analyst for the DOD and then for the CIA. Later, she was the Administrative Assistant in charge of the Tumor Registry at the former New Haven (CT) Hospital and the Detection Clinic of the Department of Oncology, Yale University School of Medicine.
Susan moved to Kingsport, Tennessee in 1962 with her husband, the Rev. Douglas J. Berndt, and their four children when he was called to be the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. At St. Paul’s she taught Church School for many years and was active in the Episcopal Church Women’s group.
In 1970, Susan earned her MA degree in English at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN and received the John D. Allen Award that year for the Outstanding Graduate Student in English. Her Master’s thesis, an analysis of John Berryman’s Dream Songs, was published in 1976, and a number of her essays about that work appeared in the journal, John Berryman Studies. Susan taught English at ETSU for many years, most often at the Kingsport University Center campus. During her tenure, she served on a number of committees on both campuses and helped to develop the KUC Advisement Office.
During her time in Tennessee, one of her major concerns was the education and other needs of area women. Susan served on the Women’s Advisory Committee on Continuing Education for Women at ETSU in 1979-1980. She designed the “All About Women: Women in Perspective” seminar series offered at KUC. And, she was a Founder and Board member of the Women’s Center of Kingsport which was instrumental in the development of SAFE House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Susan served on the SAFE House Board from 1981-1986 and as Board President, 1984-1985. She was named Woman of the Year finalist in 1982 and 1984 by the Altrusa Club of Metropolitan Kingsport in recognition of her community service, professional excellence and assistance to women.
Following her retirement from ETSU in 1986, she joined the Literacy Council of Kingsport and served its Board as president from 1989-1991. During that time she helped to establish the Lee Family Learning Center, a facility of the Kingsport Housing Authority. In 1992, she was honored with the J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award for outstanding volunteer service. A member of the National Women’s Studies Association for many years, she was also a charter member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Susan was an accomplished quilter and a founding member of the First Frontier Quilters of Kingsport.
In 1999, Doug and Susan moved to Cape Elizabeth, Maine where they continued to enjoy retirement, many hobbies, visit their summer camp in the Berkshires and family events. After Doug died, Susan moved to Corpus Christi, TX with her son Jon in 2002 to be close to her daughter Sarah and her family. While able, she continued to quilt, was a member of the Orchid Society, a Red Hat group, the Beaudacious Women, a Parkinson’s support group and helped at All Saint’s Episcopal Church’s Food Pantry. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease shortly after Doug died, Susan has spent her later years coping with the complications associated with Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s dementia.
Many thanks go to all her caregivers and friends at Trisun Care Center Assisted Living and especially her private sitters; Lizzie, Alice, Esther and Ellie. We would most importantly like to thank Mom’s very special helper, Minnie, for all she has done throughout these last years for our Mom. We could not have taken care of her without these wonderful, caring and loving women. Angels in disguise all, thank you!
Survivors include her four children and their families: Ned (Lynda), Miami, FL; Lawrence (Linda), Cornish NH; Sarah (Frank Thomas) and Jon (Susan) of Corpus Christi, Texas; her six grandchildren: Lysa, Scott, Aaron, Julia, Laura and Ben; and three great grandchildren: Montana Grace, Bailey Rae and Ethan; her two beloved sisters-in-law, Shirley and Susan, and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to your local Literacy Council or Woman’s Shelter.
To offer your condolences please visit us at www.cage-mills.com
Services entrusted to Cage-Mills Funeral Directors.