Piercy, Susan McCartney

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Life ended peacefully for Susan McCartney Piercy (69) at her home in Blacksburg on July 22, 2021. Despite the cancer that took her life, Susan’s goal was to live each day with courage, grace and joy. And she did.

Susan was a lifelong dancer (ballet, and later, Zumba, tap, and swing) and a firm believer in her refrigerator magnet “The kitchen is for dancing.” Later in her life, she organized a tap dance group called “The Hot Flashes.” Susan lived life fully, and was an amazing wife to Fred, mother to Adriane, and friend to so many. To be in her orbit was to be blessed and loved. She connected through caring and warmth, friendship, kindness, great food, regular phone calls and get-togethers, an open, loving heart, and unbridled joy and creativity. George Bernard Shaw once said that he did not want to be a “feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making …(him) happy.” Instead, he chose to be a “force of nature.” Susan was also a force of nature. She loved friends and family, the international scholars she taught, reading, travel, clothes with a flair, her red cowboy boots, Spanish restaurants without menus outside, handmade gifts and pastry to those she loved, backyard time to enjoy the surrounding mountains with Fred, and anything the least bit quirky. Susan laughed a lot.

Susan grew up in Fresno, California, and graduated from Fresno State University with a dual degree in art history and Eastern philosophy. She also studied art history at the University of Arizona and the University of California, Irvine, and received a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech. For 17 years, until her retirement in 2017, Susan taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and administered programs for international scholars, including the Humphrey Fellows and Mandela Fellows, through the Language and Culture Institute at Virginia Tech. Her work gave her great joy and touched many lives.

Susan is survived by her loving husband, Fred, her precious daughter Adriane, Adriane’s husband, Matt, and their beautiful baby, Oren. Susan is also survived by her brother, Kevin, and sister, Patty, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. In addition, Susan is survived by stepson Stephen Piercy, his wife Katrina, and their children, Quintin and Marina, as well as stepson David Piercy, his wife, Kelly, and their children, Julia, Alex, and Ryan.

A celebration of her life will be held at a date to be determined at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Blacksburg, the church she has attended for many years.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor may be sent to the American Cancer Society at https://www.cancer.org or by calling 1-800-227-2345.