Suzanne Katsonis Krizan passed away peacefully at home on December 21, 2023 following a short illness; surrounded by the love of her family and friends near and far. Suzanne, better known as Sue or Suzy, was born on October 18, 1947 in Harrisburg, PA to Doris Geise and George Manuel Katsonis, the son of an immigrant from the Greek island of Samos. After graduating from Susquehanna Township High School in 1965, Sue attended Millersville University. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in special education and later returned to complete her master's degree. Studying special education allowed Sue to complete extensive coursework in psychology at both the undergraduate and graduate level at a time when women were primarily encouraged to pursue teaching or nursing. Her 1976 master's thesis took on a topic that was groundbreaking in the special education field at the time, and earned her the opportunity to continue doctoral studies at Stanford. Making a difficult decision, Sue chose love, and moved to Kalamazoo to marry her husband, Jerry Krizan. As a teacher, special education consultant, and program coordinator, Sue was fiercely committed to educational justice. Throughout her career, she worked to ensure that special education students had their specific needs met in a way that would allow them to live their best lives, regardless of disabilities, social and family situations, and other circumstances beyond their control. She was strongly influenced by her experience of the 1969-1970 school desegregation efforts in Richmond County, Georgia, where she became one of a handful of white teachers transferred to a previously all-Black school. Sue was also a devoted wife and mother, and cherished the time that she had with her family. Her hobbies included reading, particularly mystery and true-crime novels, listening to music, especially Motown and disco, and playing piano. In her final years, she became passionate about her Greek heritage, and fulfilled her dream of a second trip to Samos, the island where her great grandfather was born. Sue is survived by her sister Mary (Joe) Moyer, brother, Michael Katsonis; daughter, Mary (Justin Waldo) Krizan and her bonus sister, Whitney Mayfield; and numerous friends, cousins, and adopted grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Tracy Marie and her husband, Jerry.
Visitation will take place from 6-8:00 PM on Friday evening, December 30, 2023 at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 622 S Burdick St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. A funeral service will take place the following day at 11:00 AM at St. Monica Catholic Church at 4408 S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. Graveside services will take place the same day at 12:15 at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park South, 3941 S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008. Donations in Sue's memory may be directed to St. Monica Catholic Church, 4408 S Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 or Astounding Hearts LLC, 525 Lay Boulevard, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. To share a memory or leave a condolence for the family visit https://www.langelands.com.