|Birth: ||Mar. 25, 1963|
|Death: ||Mar. 5, 2013|
Surrounded by the love of her closest family and friends, Suzanne Kathryn Arlie passed away at her home in Eugene March 5, 2013. Unfairly cut short by ovarian cancer at the age of 49, Suzanne's life was characterized by grace, generosity and humor. Her unwavering strength and zest never faltered despite the many losses she confronted throughout her life. For those who were fortunate to know her personally and the community to which she gave so much, her death is a great loss that leaves the world a considerably less interesting place.
Suzanne was born March 25, 1963 in Pittsburgh, Penn. to Robert K. Stitt and Kathryn Marie Lesheski. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area while she was in high school and later co-founded Dexxa International, a computer graphics hardware and software company. As marketing director, she helped lead the company to great success, and it was purchased by Logitech.
Suzanne married her husband, John Musumeci, on April 28, 1990 in Reno, Nev. They moved to Maui, Hawaii where she first developed her love of scuba diving and underwater photography. In 1990, the couple moved to Elkton, Ore. where Suzanne pursued her lifelong passion for horses by establishing Dark Horse Farms, a premier breeder of rare Friesian horses. Suzanne managed the breeding operations herself, trained the striking black horses for show and was an accomplished dressage rider who specialized in carriage driving.
In 1991, Suzanne and John founded a real estate development company and relocated to Eugene. Arlie & Company was involved in some of the area's most important--and often controversial--land sales and development projects, including PeaceHealth's Riverbend campus; Springfield's Regional Sports Center; and a 315-acre addition to the Ridgeline Trail park system named for Suzanne at her husband John's request.
Suzanne was a visionary whose creativity and commitment to her employees, community and sustainability were the driving force behind Arlie & Company's most notable project: Crescent Village. She worked closely with the architects to design the buildings; added unique touches such as original artwork by local artists; and organized many large events to connect the village to the larger community. The vibrant and unique community is a lasting, living testament to her talent and dedication to making a positive contribution to the world.
Suzanne is best known publicly for her philanthropy. She gave generously to make her community a better place for everyone and supported many local non-profit organizations including the Child Center, Center for Community Counseling, Lane Community College and innumerable others.
In addition to giving significant financial support to many causes, Suzanne was a dedicated and selfless volunteer. She served on numerous boards and advisory panels including the Relief Nursery and Eugene Rotary. She was as likely to roll up her sleeves and work as she was to write a check, and could be found cleaning playgrounds, stuffing envelopes and fundraising throughout the year. Each holiday season, she made a special purchase of bulk food for FOOD for Lane County and worked side-by-side with her employees to package it for distribution to the hungry throughout the county.
Suzanne was a tireless advocate for the underdog and held a special place in her heart for the most vulnerable residents of the community. She served as president of the Relief Nursery board of directors and worked to prevent child abuse and strengthen at-risk families in Eugene and throughout Oregon. She was also a passionate animal advocate and dedicated supporter of Greenhill Humane Society. She said that if she were a superhero, her cause would be avenging abused animals. She was rarely found without at least one of her dogs by her side.
Suzanne was fiercely loyal to family and a thoughtful and loving friend. She adored spending time with those close to her, and made everyone around her feel special. The most gracious host imaginable, Suzanne loved to throw parties. Birthdays were her favorite occasions, and she lent her creativity to every detail to ensure that the day was perfect for the honoree.
Suzanne had a strong spirit and always celebrated life. In addition to horseback riding and scuba diving, she loved ballroom dancing, traveling, fine food and music. She was deeply spiritual. Suzanne also had a mischievous and sometimes wicked sense of humor; the results of her elaborate practical jokes her friends will knowingly keep to themselves.
When Suzanne was diagnosed with cancer, she vowed to fight and focused on helping others. She was a compassionate and encouraging mentor to fellow cancer survivors, and her strength and determination were an inspiration. Suzanne explored many non-traditional therapies for improving her health and well-being during her cancer treatments and found they helped her considerably. Recognizing her good fortune for having the means to access such services, she founded the Golden Ribbon Foundation to help other women living with cancer get the same relief. The life-affirming treatments made possible by the Foundation's grants have helped hundreds of women and the Golden Ribbon is a tribute to Suzanne's deep desire to serve others.
Suzanne never let her disease define her, but focused instead on spending every day of her life taking back some of what cancer took away. She kept this promise and her spark, sense of humor, courage and grace were an inspiration to the end. She was beautiful in every sense of the word and will be deeply missed.
Suzanne is survived by her stepchildren: Lisa Drakes of Bethlehem, Penn., John Musumeci, Jr. of Rainier, Wash., and Nicole Musumeci of Rainier, Wash.; her father and stepmother, Robert and Linda Stitt of Palo Alto, Calif.; her brother, Robert Stitt IV of Eugene, Ore.; her uncle, David P. Stitt of New Kensington, Penn.; her aunt Robin Stitt Morris of Tampa, Fla.; and seven cousins, Alexandria Hamilton of Tampa, Fla., David Stitt II of New Kensington, Penn., Jordan Stitt of Eugene, Ore., Jason Stitt and Justin Stitt of Pittsburgh, Penn., Joshua Stitt of Dallas, Texas and Kristin Stitt Klepsig of Davenport, Iowa. She also leaves behind innumerable friends and her cherished dogs, Rosie, Sweet Pea and Franky. Suzanne was preceded in death by her husband, John Musumeci; her mother, Kathryn Marie Lesheski; her sister, Karen Stitt; and her special grandmother, Lorraine Stitt.
Musgrove Family Center will host a viewing from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 17. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 18 at St. Mary's Episcopal Church of Eugene at 13th and Pearl streets with a reception to follow. Burial will be held in private. Arrangements by Musgrove Family Mortuary of Eugene.
In lieu of flowers, please send charitable donations to Greenhill Humane Society, 88530 Green Hill Rd., Eugene, Ore. 97402 or Relief Nursery, 1720 W. 25 Ave., Eugene, Ore. 97405.
Special thanks to Suzanne's nurses, Tiffany Garcia and Tami Luscher, and her trusted personal assistant, Nora Mitchell, for their compassion and dedication.
Never raise the white flag.
John Joseph Musumeci (1946 - 2012)
Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery
Maintained by: Darjo
Originally Created by: KarenK.
Record added: Mar 06, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 106269820
Added: Jan. 15, 2016
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Added: Jul. 31, 2013