Suellen Hymes Musgrove


image of Suellen Musgrove

Suellen Musgrove

Suellen Hymes Musgrove passed peacefully at 10:26 AM on December 18, 2020, in her Kirkland home surrounded by her husband and 2 daughters, thus culminating a life of over 80 years. In 2005, Suellen was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, which was successfully managed for 15 years by her wonderful medical team at Virginia Mason Seattle. She endured 2 major surgeries, several minor surgeries, and numerous rounds of chemotherapy. Chemo eventually took a toll on her body, to the extent that she was unable to endure further treatments of any kind. We are immensely grateful for the additional 15 years of life that she was afforded.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Suellen remained steadfast in her Christian faith, and enjoyed a fairly normal lifestyle between rounds of treatment. Again, we have so much to be grateful for.

Suellen began life on June 4, 1940, in Highland Park, MI, as the one and only child of Gene Daniel and Ruth Ward Hymes. Her mom named her after the character in Gone With The Wind. Suellen entered kindergarten when the family moved to Farmington, MI, where her dad opened a TV store, one of the first in the region. On day-one of kindergarten, Suellen made new friends, many of whom she kept in close contact through the years. When she was just learning to write, she answered a penpal request in a comic book, and made friends with a guy in New York. They later met in-person, when they were teenagers, and remained friends forever. She very much enjoyed class reunions and social media. Maintaining friendships was always important to her.

As a child, Suellen enjoyed her pogo stick, riding her bike through the neighborhoods, and exploring the woods with her Boxer dog, Champ, who slept at the foot of her bed. She entertained girlfriends in the backyard summerhouse built by her dad, where they frequently held sleepovers. In the winter, she ice skated on a pond built by neighbors in the back woods. She also enjoyed summer camps, where she learned to swim in the cold waters of Northern Michigan, and eventually became a swim instructor and camp leader.

Suellen had a nose for mischief. In high school, she joined a group of girls who wore bermuda shorts to school one day, in violation of the dress code. They were promptly sent home, but a statement had been made.

Another summer favorite during her youth was driving with her aunt and cousin down historic Route 66 to California, and exploring the West Coast. She especially liked San Francisco.

Suellen was gifted with photographic memory and excelled in most subjects. She graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan, with a degree in sociology, in 1962. Following graduation, she made a beeline for San Francisco, where she joined several classmates. She worked short-term jobs, while saving money for a trip to Europe. She took up skiing – her favorite slopes were at Squaw Valley.

After touring Europe for 3-months, with a group of friends she met on the Queen Elizabeth, she decided to get a teaching degree. She graduated San Francisco State, and was hired to teach second grade at Portola Elementary, near Pacifica, CA. She commuted to work along the Pacific Coast in her trusty VW Beetle.

Suellen fancied herself a match-maker, and claimed credit for introducing 2 couples who eventually married.

Suellen met her future husband, Tom Musgrove, in May 1968, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at a waterfront venue in Sausalito, when he asked her to dance. They married a year later, June 21, 1969, at Swedenborgian, a quaint little church with a crackling fireplace, in Presidio Heights, San Francisco. They lived in Minnesota for a year, then moved to Kirkland, where she was a new-hire teacher for the brand-new Carl Sandburg Elementary, teaching second grade. Suellen later taught at Peter Kirk Elementary, while daughter Jana was in attendance, then transferred back to Sandburg. So, she had 2 sets of teacher and parent friends. Also, teacher friends from Portola.

Suellen very much enjoyed teaching. She prided herself on being able to win over skeptical parents who thought her proclivity for arts and crafts in the classroom would be at the expense of academics. She excelled at both, and won them over.

Suellen retired from teaching in June 1999, after more than 30 years.

After retirement, Suellen acquired an interest in genealogy, and traced her family roots along all family lines as far as possible. She compiled the information into scrapbooks and prepared copies for each daughter. All told, she created over two dozen scrapbooks containing family photos and genealogy.

Suellen was an avid collector of dolls and other objects old and new, large and small, trendy and outdated, and used them to decorate her home, along with her many arts and crafts creations. She especially enjoyed making Christmas ornaments out of dough, a skill daughter Rebecca is now teaching her own daughters.

During vacation, Suellen enjoyed family activities, such as camping in Washington, kayaking in the San Juans and along Vancouver Island, skiing at Mt. Batchelor, biking and snow shoeing in the Methow Valley, digging clams and flying kites at Moclips Beach, and exploring new places. She also very much enjoyed activities with her girlfriends, such as luncheons, book clubs, doll clubs, as well as dinners with other couples.

Her later travels included visits to Nazi concentration camps, Nuremberg, Hawaii, and Hong Kong.

Suellen is survived by her husband of 51-years, Thomas (Tom), daughter Jana (David Martinez), daughter Rebecca (Cesar Sanchez), and 5 grandchildren:  Thomas and Luke Martinez, Marcus Mendez (Rebecca), and twins Ellie and Ari Sanchez.

A special thanks to the staff at Evergreen Hospice for their wonderful care and assistance during her final days.

Suellen’s family is most grateful for the messages of cond

olence received from her classmates, teacher friends, parent friends, neighborhood friends, relatives, and others across the country.

For those who wish to make a memorial donation, you may wish to consider Virginia Mason Foundation or EvergreenHealth/Hospice Care.

A celebration of Suellen’s life will be held  late summer 2021, well after the COVID pandemic has ended.

13 Responses to “Suellen Hymes Musgrove”

  • Laura Fromm says:

    I am so very sorry! My heart goes out to you and your family. Much love! Laura Fromm

  • Carol Glennon says:

    Condolences to the family with special thoughts of you, Rebecca. Sending you heartfelt sympathy. Your mom is proud of who you are, and those qualities are a testament to her.
    Carol Glennon

  • Rose Sturdevant says:

    I love Suellen”s story. What a great life she lived. Her physical presence will be missed but memories of her will bring you peace, so grateful to know her through her daughter Rebecca, my thoughts and prayers go out to her whole family. Love Rose

  • Marie Tolbert says:

    I feel so fortunate to have known Suellen … She was a very special person and lived a beautiful life … caring of her family, students and many friends … I miss her and send condolences to Tom, Jana, Rebecca and all of her grandchildren.

  • Beto Sanchez & Family says:

    Rebecca and Family,
    We are very sorry about your loss. We send you all our love, prayers, and thoughts.
    Love you guys.
    Beto and Jenni Sanchez

  • Irma Sanchez says:

    Rebecca & Family-

    My sincere condolences to you and your family. I am praying for your hearts that you find peace and comfort through our Lord and savior. I pray that you find peace and strength in his word. we are at peace knowing that she is now home resting in heaven and is no longer suffering. We pray to be reunited with her one day. sending you all a hug and many blessings.

    Irma Sanchez

    Rebecca Y Familia

    Mis sinceras condolencias para usted y su familia. Oro por sus corazones para que encuentren paz y consuelo a través de nuestro Señor y Salvador. Oro para que encuentres paz y fuerza en su palabra. estamos en paz sabiendo que ella ahora está en casa descansando en el cielo y ya no sufre. Oramos para reunirnos con ella algún día. enviándoles a todos un abrazo y muchas bendiciones.

    Con Cariño,
    Irma Sanchez

  • Valerie Slade says:

    Suellen was the highlight of my life. We traveled so many fun places together. My best memory was her teaching me how to boogie board in Zihua. I shall miss our lunches, art classes, and making you cream of leek and carrot soup.

    Until we meet again my friend happy trails
    I love you

  • Sarahi & Chris McDonough says:

    Auntie Becca & Family- Chris and I are sending you healing prayers and comforting hugs. We are so sorry for your loss of your wonderful mother. What an amazing woman and what a remarkable life she lead. Your mama was an amazing lady, and those who spent time with her are truly privileged to have known her. Your mother blessed so many people with her faith and kindness.

    You’ll always remember how it felt to laugh with her and be loved by her. I hope those memories will bring comfort in time to you and your family. The lessons your mom taught you, the love she gave, the way she cared for people…all those good things live on in you auntie Becca. Praying that you’ll find comfort in your memories of her and in the knowledge that others are missing her, too.

    Lifting you all up in prayer, May God bless you and comfort you all.

    Sarahi & Chris

  • Norene Antin says:

    Dear Tom, Rebecca and Jana–I am so sorry for your loss. Your wife and mom was remarkable and courageous. She fought to stay strong so she could love and enjoy you. She absolutely loved her beautiful grandchildren.

    We, in her cancer support group, were encouraged by her faith, perseverance and prayers and delighted by her friendship for 15 years. At Eastside Church I personally was blessed by her faithful attendance, sitting next to me every week, and her unshakable faith and focus on God. She was my encourager there. The Lord and her doctors gave her extra years on this earth so she could love her family and friends and she did an excellent job. She “fought a good fight, she kept the faith, and she finished her race.” (2 Timothy 4:7) It was not easy!

    I was proud to hear how you blessed her with your loving and sacrificial care. Thank you. May God who stood at her side and gave her daily strength do the same for you.

  • David Weirich says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. She will be missed.

  • Barbara Caddock says:

    Dear Tom, Rebecca, Jana and families,
    Suellen was my fellow teacher, my friend and at times my “sounding board.” She was one of the finest teachers I had the privilege of working with.
    You mentioned her love of dolls. I have story. She wanted to go to our staff Christmas party but didn’t want to drive to the home. I told her I would love to take her. As we were driving there she asked what I had done that day. I told her I watched Little Women. We talked about the book. The following Monday on my desk were 5 stunning porcelain dolls – the sisters and Marmmy and a note saying, “Thank you for the evening.” I told her it was too much and she said, “But you don’t know what it meant to me.”
    I will miss her!

  • Ryan Burke says:

    Hi Rebecca and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom lived a wonderful and full life and was a beautiful lady. From what I can see in this beautiful eulogy, she fought the good fight.


    Ryan Burke

  • Thomas Ward Gobeil says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Suellen. She was my 2nd cousin once removed. We had conversed and exchanged information over the internet on many occasions regarding genealogy. She was an excellent source of information about our shared relatives and family trees. She will be missed.

    Thomas Ward Gobeil
    Prescott, Ontario, Canada

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