Susan Buccowich, 51, passed away peacefully on July 18, 2013 following a six-year battle with brain cancer. Susan Marie Romberg was born July 23, 1961, the second of three children and the only daughter of David and Helen Romberg. She grew up in Paramount and attended Lincoln Elementary and Alondra Junior High before graduating from Paramount High School in 1979.
A key aspect of Susan's youth was her activity at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount where she belonged with generations of her Christian family. Depending on her age and the day of the week, she could be found in worship, attending or teaching Sunday school, participating in youth groups, singing in choirs, acting in and leading drama ministry, and participating in women's ministries plus a variety of Bible studies. Susan centered her life on God and his people.
She met Mike Buccowich at church one evening with the college group in 1982. They began dating within a couple of months and became inseparable. They enjoyed each other's company anywhere and spent time serving at church, sharing Falcon burgers at Cerritos College, and establishing a relationship they would treasure. In 1984, Susan graduated from the Cerritos College Dental Hygiene Program and pursued her professional career. Mike and Susan were excited to be husband and wife, and married on March 23, 1985.
Motherhood arrived with joy for Susan in 1989 when their daughter Lexie was born, followed by sons Austin in 1991 and Adam in 1993. She learned to balance motherhood with her career, and created a warm and loving home for her family. Susan also helped introduce a legacy of faith to her children, helping them to know and serve God just as she had done. She happily continued family traditions in her own home and sought to create lasting memories on birthdays, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Annual highlights also included family vacations for water skiing at Clearlake, snow skiing in Mammoth, and weekend retreats in the mountains at Angelus Oaks.
Susan's sincere faith and trust in God became remarkably evident when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Caught early and treated with surgery in 2006, it served to make Susan more thankful for the gift of life. But her Christian foundation became indispensable when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2007. Knowing her life belonged to God and that his good purposes can be established in spite of the hardest circumstances, she determined to prevail against a disease with an average life expectancy of 18 months.
She endured radiation treatment and 6 chemotherapies, 10 ER admissions, 19 hospital stays and 14 surgeries throughout her brain tumor journey. She overcame a number of complications including tumor progression four times, brain hemorrhages twice, and even fungal meningitis. But bigger than her overstuffed medical file, Susan's huge capacity to prevail with peace in the face of death demonstrated God's resources at work in her life. She pursued her journey knowing that God would provide for her needs and wanted others to share in the comfort she received. Her positive attitude brought encouragement to her family and to others as God saw fit. Her legacy of trusting the Lord in spite of overwhelming circumstances will continue by his grace.
Susan is survived by her husband Mike and children Lexie, Austin and Adam; her brothers Brian (Nancy) and Randy (Dorothy) Romberg and their families; her father David Romberg; and scores of people who knew her and accompanied her on her journey – friends, co-workers, patients, and people of the family of God.
Susan's family expresses their profound gratitude for everyone who prayed for and supported us over the years with family meals, gifts, gift cards, housecleaning, cash, gas cards, flowers and countless notes of encouragement. We especially want to thank Susan's caregiver team for your vital weekday visits so she could be supported while we were at work and school. You are amazing. Your help was life-giving.
We're also deeply grateful to Dr. Leia Nghiemphu and the neuro-oncology and neuroscience teams at UCLA who extended Susan's life again and again and gave us the gift of time. Susan was a beneficiary of your tireless commitment to bring healing into the devastation of brain cancer for patients and families. Your commitment will continue to bear fruit in the form of more effective treatments and better outcomes.
Those who are inclined to remember Susan with flowers are encouraged instead to donate generously to the UCLA neuroscience program. You may donate online at www.neurooncology.ucla.edu
, or by check payable to the UCLA Foundation and mailed to:
The UCLA Foundation
Attn: Patricia Roderick
UCLA Medical Sciences Development
10945 Le Conte Avenue Suite 3132
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1784