Email - Jan 9, 2010

Dear Bill,

I am truly saddened by the loss of your precious sister.

I wish I could be with you today to celebrate Susan's life, but I am in Sarasota, Florida for January.
Please find below a few words to let you and your family know how I shall remember Susan.

With sympathy and love to you all,

Nancy Ruth Patterson

Tribute to Susan

I was blessed (mucho blessed) to have taught Susan at two very different times in her life. I taught her in the mid sixties during my first year as a Spanish teacher at William Fleming High School. She was Spanish Club president, and because of her enthusiasm and energy, this organization grew from just a few members to one of the largest in the school. I remember her fondly from high school as an excellent student who could not only converse in Spanish well,but could invent a charming mixture of Spanish and English at a moment's notice if the correct Spanish word momentarily evaded her.

Decades later, I taught Susan in a graduate course in children's literature for The University of Virginia in Roanoke. What a pleasure to reconnect with Susan and to understand what a truly gifted, life-changing teacher she was. Her sense of humor lifted many a class. Her presentations were always carefully crafted, well-researched, engagingly delivered, and full of good will and humor. She was a great encourager to others in that class,too, just as I know she was with her own students.

A Susan Kern Library Fund at Back Creek Elementary School is a perfect tribute to my former student, forever friend. I shall be giving that fund the last two books I have written as seeds planted in memory of a very special person who loved children dearly and taught them to appreciate reading, appreciate their own gifts, and appreciate everyday blessings.

With mucho love to her family,
Nancy Ruth Patterson