Suzanne Swann Laws
After residing in Big Bend Hospice, Inc., in Tallahassee, Florida for days, and after a courageous battle with cancer, Suzanne Swann Laws transitioned peacefully to her heavenly home on the morning of May 9, 2021. Born in DeFuniak Springs, Florida on February 4, 1947, Suzanne was the oldest daughter of Walter Oliver Swann and Ossie Bobbitt Swann.
She was predeceased by her parents Walter and Ossie Swann; Robert and Margaret Laws, in-laws; and Don Laws, brother-in-law. Suzanne leaves behind Neil Laws, her husband of fifty-one years; Walter Chamlee Laws, son; Cody James Laws, her beloved grandson; Callie, her calico cat of thirteen years; Linda Austin, Lista Bodree, and Libby (Ward) Sweat, sisters; Amber Laws, sister-in-law; Frank and Carolyn Laws, and Byron and Denise Laws, in-laws; several aunts, many nieces and nephews.
Growing up with three younger sisters and attending schools in Crestview, Florida, Suzanne graduated from Crestview High School. Not only was she in the top five in the Class of 1965, but she also was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by her classmates. After graduating from Pensacola Junior College in 1967 with an A.S., she attended Auburn University. Majoring in Nutrition and Food Sciences, she was a 1969 graduate of the Auburn University College of Human Sciences. Graduating from Florida State University in 1971, she received her Master's in Science.
On June 28, 1969, Suzanne married Neil Laws, the love of her life whom she met while attending Crestview High School. After her marriage, she made Tallahassee her home. She was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church.
She was a Life Member of the Auburn Alumni Association and in 2019, was inducted into the Golden Eagles, an organization recognizing Auburn alumni during their 50th class reunions. She was a past member of the university's Dietetics Advisory Board. She was a loyal and consistent donor to Auburn University since 1985 and was a member of the university's Samford Society and Foy Society, donor recognition societies. In addition to her support of the College of Human Sciences through the Dean's Signature Society and its Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, she also was a generous supporter of the university's Alumni Association, library, marching band, theater program, performing arts center, and football team. Since 2007, Suzanne had been an active supporter and member of the Auburn University Women's Philanthropy Board (WPW) including serving many years on its Executive Committee. She was especially dedicated to the organization's mission to mentor the next generation of philanthropists and personally sponsored hundreds of Auburn students to attend WPB's educational programs. She felt it was important for Auburn students to have the opportunity to hear from nationally known speakers such as former First Lady Laura Bush, Dr. Jane Goodall, international nonprofit leader, and Marlo Thomas, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital spokesperson.
Suzanne was a consulting nutritionist and diabetes educator in private practice contracting out to Florida's Children's Medical Service to provide diabetes education and management to children in the Panama City, Florida clinic. She was involved in diabetes education and management over thirty years. Traveling nationally and internationally, she gave presentations and workshops to other health care professionals on the education and management of people with diabetes. She was a Registered and a Licensed Dietitian in Florida, Georgia, and Jamaica, a Certified Nutrition Specialist with the American College of Nutrition, Fellow of the American Dietetic Association, Fellow of the Association of Diabetes Educators, Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management Specialist, and a Certified Diabetes Educator.
She was the first dietitian to be selected as Diabetes Educator of the Year by the American Association of Diabetes Association
. She also received the Chalmers and Flora Davies Memorial Award from the American Dietetic Association as well as the American College of Nutrition Humanitarian Award. After spending twenty-two years volunteering at summer Florida Diabetes Camps, she received the Doug Case Memorial Award for her service. She was an honorary member of the Diabetes Educators of the Caribbean. She received the Diabetes Educator of Year 1985-1986 Delta Chapter AADE, Florida Dietetic Association Public Service Award 2000, and Suzanne S. Laws Scholarship 2004-2010.
Beginning In 1981, Suzanne taught nutrition to nursing students at Valdosta State University. While teaching, she, along with Dr. Charles Barker, and several others, began a program at South Georgia Medical Center for the purpose of educating diabetic patients about the importance of proper nutrition. From there, she began working for Dr. Joseph Stubbs, an internist. She traveled to Valdosta monthly to work with his severely diabetic patients. For over twelve years, she not only taught at Valdosta State University, but she also taught nutrition to nursing students at Tallahassee Community College.
Suzanne was a founding member of LeMoyne Arts. In addition to serving on the board of directors and taking classes, she was a major donor, and she sponsored most events. Suzanne could be found volunteering behind the scenes at the Chain of Parks Art Festival and Art & Soul Celebrations.
Supporting her son Chamlee as a Cub Scout, Suzanne volunteered many hours of service to The Boy Scouts of America as a Den Leader and Troop Leader.
In addition to traveling to six continents, traveling internationally yearly with Cody, her beloved grandson, brought her great joy. They stayed on Embassy Row in Cuba and took a river cruise down the Rhine River where Cody played Chess with an Asian gentleman as Mama Anne viewed beautiful castles and landscapes along the way. They visited St. Petersburg, Russia and the beaches of Normandy. They ziplined together in Central America. While in Iceland, Cody experienced his first snow. They toured France where they saw the Eiffel Tower, and in Scotland they saw firsthand the amazing Falkirk Wheel. They shared many other trips and exciting adventures that instilled in Cody the love of travel, like that of his Mama Anne.
In addition to being a mother, homemaker, and working a full-time job outside the home, Suzanne was the backbone of Neil Laws Pool Service. Serving as the business manager and bookkeeper from 1989-2020, she was an integral part of her husband's business.
Being a loving, compassionate, and dedicated wife, mother, Mama Anne, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend, Suzanne was loved by all who knew her. Going out of her way to keep her friends over the years, she nourished friendships like flowers.
The family expresses their gratitude to the many staff members at Big Bend Hospice for their professional care and unconditional support. A special thanks to Rebecca Campbell, Suzanne's longtime friend whom she met in Brussels at one of her speaking engagements, for being a caregiver during the days prior to her death.
Plans for a service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Big Bend Hospice, Inc., 1723 Mahan Center Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32308, or The American Diabetes Association
, 2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 900, Arlington, Virginia 22202.
Published by The Crestview News Bulletin from May 21 to May 26, 2021.