Suzanne Swann Laws
1947 - 2021
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.
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A Celebration of Life will be held 10 A.M., Thursday, July 1, 2021, at Thomasville Road Baptist Church, 3131 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308, Dr. Leo Day officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Big Bend Hospice, Inc., 1723 Mahan Center Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32308, or American Diabetes Association, 2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 900, Arlington, Virginia 22202.
Camille Patton
June 25, 2021
On behalf of all the members of the Diabetes Community in Jamaica and the Caribbean Region - I wish to extend our condolences to Suzanne's family. Suzanne was a special part of our annual meetings, contributed much to the training of the Caribbean Certified Diabetes Educators in the region, and tirelessly worked to further to cause of patient education and support! She will be sadly missed.
Andrea Hunt
June 6, 2021
A Beautiful Soul, I feel honored to be able to call her my friend and be her personal jeweler. A passionate woman who brightened your day and loved her friends and family. I will miss you so...
Veronica Almarode
May 26, 2021
A life well lived.
Paul D Harvill
May 26, 2021
Suzanne was a strong, honest and true friend, with a love of life. She was beyond generous with her time, resources and kindness. She didn't suffer fools and she would stand tall....all 5' of her, to face down any adversary. She will be missed, I am proud that she considered me a friend
Ann Kozeliski
May 25, 2021
Suzanne is my cousin and we shared many adventures together and I loved her dearly. She was the oldest of the cousins and I was ten when our grandfather died so I would always ask her to tell me about granddaddy. She was very patient and would answer every question that I asked of her. She was my sister Wareagle and took me to many of the games with her. In reading this beautiful Obituary there were things that she did that even I was unaware of. That was Suzanne, she was a lover of life and adventures, she didn't brag she lived every second to the fullest and will be missed by anyone that knew her.
Claudia Nell Bobbitt Brown
May 24, 2021
Always the positive and strong leader in education here at Valdosta State University. Also a childhood role model for so many of us. My sincere prayers for her family and friends. Many blessings.
Debbie Bradley
May 24, 2021
Neil,very sorry to hear of Suzanne's passing,God be with you and your family,sincerely, Jim Hill
Jim Hill
May 23, 2021
I am so very sorry to hear about Suzanne.
Bless you and your family.
Jane Woods
May 23, 2021
Suzanne was the quintessential friend who always remembered birthdays and holidays. She loved to be with her friends and treated others with unconditional love and respect. She was an inspiration to all who knew her. I will miss her so much.
Patricia Jones
May 23, 2021
Jo Anne & Barbara Graham
May 22, 2021
Suzanne is a firecracker! Learned so much about Diabetes and navigating the ADA from her. She is an inspiration for other Diabetes Educators.
Sherry Lee
May 22, 2021
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