At age 73, Susan Diane (Williams) Staley who grew up in Washington, DC and suburban Maryland slipped the surly bonds of earth on September 13, 2023. As a teenager growing up in Capital Heights and District Heights, Maryland, she was constantly working various part time jobs. She worked throughout high school, working nearly full time during school. Simultaneously, she saved her money and bought her first car at age 16 – a mid-50’s Ford Fairlane, which she was so very proud of. Sue loved her family, doing everything and anything for them at any time of day or night. Susan affectionately became her family’s matriarch several decades earlier.
Sue was a devoted wife to her husband Walter Staley for fifty years until his death in 2019. She helped in raising her four (step) children by giving them everlasting love, teaching them to believe in themselves, and encouraging them to support each other through life’s ups and downs. She instilled in both her children, her many nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren a love of education, reading, music, history, and a special fondness for family history that she traced back to the American Revolution. Sue and Walter saw many sights together, often traveling in his single engine Bonanza airplane. Overtime, she “enjoyed” the actual plane ride less and less, but would get in the plane and put up with the ride to get to the adventure that waited on the other side. Walter was truly the love of her life, they married when she was 19, she had an instant family, and a full-time job (50+ hrs/wk) helping manage their several small businesses. While they squeezed in a few formal vacations over 50 years, she especially enjoyed long walks and watching movies with Walter. A particular vacation to the island of Staniel Cay in the Bahamas was one they talked about fondly for many years.
In 2016 Susan joined Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR), Pleasant Prospect Chapter. She loved honoring her ancestors, cared deeply about creating that connection, and passing the history down to her family members. While she had studied her family history for several decades, she waited until she had the time to actively participate before joining the local DAR chapter.
She was always a reading enthusiast and later in life would read three or four books per week. Sue loved sharing her passion for books and classic movies. Ten years ago, she took up canvas oil painting and became reasonably accomplished at it. Sue always said her paintings looked best from ten feet away, family members disagree and consider it an honor to have one of her paintings.
Sue loved being at the ocean, even though she wasn’t a great swimmer. She connected with its beauty by just sitting and listening to the sounds of the waves and the calm of its shores – she enjoyed reading by the ocean. She loved to walk along the ocean shore and collect shells to remind her of its majestic breath and the very nature of its waves. It gave her such strength and inner peace.
She was an excellent cook; her holiday season strawberry cheesecake and potato salad were particularly loved by her family and friends. Her practical knowledge and experience were sought out by most every family member. She took pride in the accomplishments of all of her family members and a compliment from Sue was the ultimate seal of approval that everyone cherished. She could read people like a book, if she told you to be leery of someone or a situation, pay attention to her advice – she was almost always right.
She is survived by her children: Debbie (Staley) Brock; Dale Staley; and Steven and Terry (wife) Staley. Susan was preceded in death by her loving daughter Terri Staley. Susan herself was one of eight children: Lillian Long (deceased), Katie Bolden (deceased), Isabelle Radtke (deceased), Barbara Haley, Maryann Millikin (deceased), Harriett and John (husband) Payne, and Clifton and Sharon (wife) Williams. She had many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Sue was an important figure in raising her grandson Michael Calub, whom is married to Cynthia Calub. Sue was very close with her brother Clif; his wife Sharon was a best friend of hers. All of whom loved her dearly and will never forget her selflessness, quick wit, undying love, and sincerity for helping them.
A viewing will be held at Lee Funeral Home, 8200 Jennifer Lane Owings, MD 20736, on September 22, 2023 starting at 5:30 pm with a celebration of life service on Saturday September 23 at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory, to Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR or DAR), Pleasant Prospect Chapter, email@example.com, or Gilchrist Hospice Care 888-823-8880.