Susan A. (Fitchet) McLaughlin, 55, of Springfield, MA passed away on Monday, December 3 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. She was a Special Education teacher for the Springfield Public Schools and worked at Dryden Memorial School. She was born in Springfield on September 19, 1963 and lived for many years in Westfield, MA. She graduated from Westfield High in 1981, and from Holyoke Community College in 1983. She was employed for several years by Cumberland Farms as both a store manager and regional manager, and later on worked for the former DB Mart in Springfield. Like her mother Rosalie had done years before, Susan returned to college as an adult and graduated Cum Laude from Westfield State University in 2004 with a BA in Education. During these years she worked frequently as a substitute teacher in Springfield, most often at Frederick Harris Elementary School. After graduation she accepted the position as a Special Education teacher for grades K-3 at Dryden Memorial Elementary School. She earned her MA in Education from Westfield State in 2009. Susan was intelligent, loving and compassionate and these qualities made her an outstanding educator. Her return to college occurred while her sons were in elementary and middle school and set an excellent example for them regarding the benefits of a college education. Her sons were excellent students; perhaps her proudest moments occurred when each son obtained their college degree. Susan loved reading and over the past few years read on average at least one book per week. She worked tirelessly to promote literacy for children. She also enjoyed line dancing and over the past few years she participated weekly with the local “One Eyed Parrots” dance group. She loved to travel and some of her favorite memories include two family trips to Disney World, a trip to Venice, Italy with her mom, step-father and sister, and a boat trip with her husband from Marathon, FL to Jeckyll Island, GA on the MV Julieanne owned by longtime friends Julie and Glen Schermerhorn. Earlier this year she took a Caribbean cruise with her husband to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary. She was pre-deceased by her mother, Rosalie M. (Sabadosa) Szarkowski and her sister, Maria (Fitchet) Giordano, both of Westfield, MA, and her father-in-law John E. McLaughlin, of Suffield, CT. She leaves behind to cherish her memory her husband John T. McLaughlin (“Jay”), her sons John Michael McLaughlin, of Springfield; Benjamin M. McLaughlin, of Northampton, MA; and Steven A. McLaughlin of Quincy, MA. She is also survived by her stepfather John Szarkowski and his partner Denise Hills, of Westfield, MA; her father and his wife David and Elaine Fitchet, of Springfield and her brother Jonathan and his son Camden, of Sturbridge, MA; and her brother-in-law Steven Giordano and nephew Zachary Giordano, of Westfield; her cousin Shanna DeGray Rowe and her husband Kevin Rowe and her son Aiden Poirier, of Westfield; her mother-in-law Dolores McLaughlin, of Suffield, CT; her sister and brother-in-law Debra McLaughlin and William McCarthy, of Newington, CT; sister-in-law Jill Miller and nephew Brett Miller, of Springfield and niece Bonnie Miller of Clinton, MA. She also leaves behind her life-long best friends, Julie Schermerhorn and her husband Glen, of Westfield and Phyllis Newkirk, of Agawam, MA; and the students and faculty of Dryden Memorial School in Springfield. Visiting Hours for Susan will be held, Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 1pm-4pm with a funeral home service beginning at 3:30 pm at Sampson’s Chapel of the Acres, 21 Tinkham Road, Springfield. Susan loved Christmas and found participating in Giving Trees a personally fulfilling way to help provide gifts to less fortunate children. If you have a Giving Tree at your church, workplace, or favorite organization please think of Susan and help out a child in need. In lieu of flowers, please consider an online donation in Susan’s name to the Marine Toys for Tots program (https://www.toysfortots.org/) or to the favorite charity of your choice. Susan, her sister Maria Giordano, and her mother Rosalie Szarkowski all passed away due to the complications of Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue and often results in aortic enlargement and aneurysms. The McLaughlin family would be honored if you would please consider a donation in Susan’s name to The Marfan Foundation (https://www.marfan.org)
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