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Life Story / Obituary
Susan McGrail leaves behind many moments of laughter and a life well lived. She was a loving wife and a devoted mother, and she was also a precious daughter and sister. Her legacy of love for family and heart-warming memories of laughter will never be forgotten.
It was 1963, and a year that proved to be remarkable for its many important events and people. The Beatles became a household name with their first album’s release, and families all across America tuned in to watch “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Mister Ed.” The oral vaccine for polio was released nationwide and was given with a cube of sugar.
Abroad, the Soviet Union launched the first woman into space, and closer to home, zip codes were implemented in the United States. The American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr., made the speech of a century when he called for an end to racism and equal civil rights in “I Have a Dream.” On August 21, just days before this historic speech was given, Edward and Jean Rossi were happily dreaming of a brighter future and world with the birth of their daughter, Susan. Susan was the baby of the family; she was the last of 5 children who made the family complete.
Being that Susie was the youngest of the family, she received a great deal of attention and love from all. A thirteen year age gap amongst the siblings created lots of activity and happy chaos throughout her childhood. The family station wagon saw many miles of travel loaded up with Mary, Tom, Nancy, David, and Susie plus mom and dad; one particular destination was a regular tradition - going from Michigan to Arkansas to visit relatives. No one would ever forget the one memorable trip when everyone piled into the car after a quick stop at a gas station - everyone except Susie, who was accidentally left behind! Luckily, the family noticed their sweet little sister’s laughter was missing and promptly turned the car around to rescue her. Fortunately, the family never left her behind again and continued to travel to many wonderful destinations together (Hawaii and Italy were two of Sue’s favorites).
Sue spent her early life in the city of Kalamazoo, where she attended public schools and eventually graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 1981. She remained local even after her high school days attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) and Western Michigan University earning her associates degree.
And then, Susie found love - or maybe it found her. While visiting the Corel Gables Lounge a few times, Greg McGrail caught his first glimpse of Susie and knew immediately it was love at first sight. Susie only saw a young punk (he was two years younger) and really didn’t want anything to do with him. A short time later and unplanned, the two met there again, but this time Greg charmed her successfully. After an evening of conversation and a romantic bite to eat at the local Denny’s, she finally relented and gave Greg her phone number. Finally, after five years of dating, the two married on August 27, 1988. Susie’s Uncle Raymond Rossi presided over Mass at the St. Joseph Church. The happy couple eventually welcomed the birth of two children into their lives; Tyler was born in 1990, and Amanda was born in 1996. Together, with their children, the family’s home was full of love and affection.
The McGrail family shared so many happy moments together. With the help of Susie, their lives were very organized and well supported. Sue was an amazing mother, as she was always there for her kids and encouraged their endeavors in life. She loved her children and her husband with immensity. Many memories are left behind from family vacations taken up north, Florida, Chicago, and Detroit to visit loved ones. During those trips, Sue’s distinctive laugh was contagious - and giggles were shared because of her amazing sense of humor and appreciation of laughter. She even found the ability to smile while helping Greg when he struggled with a back injury - though she was always devoted to him throughout their lives together.
Aside from being a great mother and wife, she also found time to work. She loved her job as a Consolidated Claims Adjuster with the State Farm Insurance Company where she worked for 16 years. Her organization skills were appreciated in her work environment and often helped create and keep the peace. Her peers respected her, and she cultivated many good friendships there.
In her times of solitude, Sue might be found rocking out to AC/DC or Led Zepplin; or perhaps for more quiet times, she would enjoy a few home renovation shows on television. She also loved to prepare and share a delectable steak now and then.
Sue relished her time spent with her family and friends, and the memories she helped make will forever reside in our hearts. She was the organizer of all good things, the dreamer who helped us believe in ourselves, and the persistent one who knew it was best never to give up. She loved and cared in this life with such grace. She will always be remembered and dearly missed.
Susan McGrail, age 53, of Kalamazoo died on Saturday February 25, 2017.
Members of her family include her husband Greg, her children Tyler and Amanda, her mother Jean Rossi, 4 brothers and sisters: Mary (Bruce) Livingston, Thomas (Conni) Rossi, Nancy (Wendell) Trantham, David (Gitte) Rossi, Father and Mother in Law, Dennis and Ada McGrail and numerous nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends on Wednesday from 4-7pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Thursday at 11am. Immediately following the service a lunch will be in the Life Story Center. Please visit Susan’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Kalamazoo Humane Society.