By Neyda Borges
Jennie Susi Taylor found joy in helping others. It was that spirit of giving that led her to her life’s work: teaching. Her spirit never wavered, despite a 10 year battle with cancer.
Throughout her struggles with surgeries, medications, and chemotherapy, she taught her students, her friends and her family about love, life, and resiliency. She went to school on the days that she was scheduled for chemotherapy and – if she was able to pull herself out of bed – was back at school the next morning.
It was her optimism, her love of life, that propelled her forward. And it was that determination, that enthusiasm for life that inspired those who knew and loved her.
When she was first diagnosed with cancer, doctors told her that she had less than two years to live.
Jennie decided that “statistics are just statistics. I’m going to be one of the positive statistics.” And, in so many ways, she was. She fought this disease for ten years, undergoing several surgeries, chemotherapy and all of the physical and emotional ups and downs that accompany treatment.
She never lost her buoyancy, never stopped smiling, and was never too busy to take the time to reach out to friends, family, and former students to see how they were feeling. When she took a leave of absence to have surgery, she sent video to her students, letting them know that she was recovering. She sent care packages and reached out to encourage them before their History End of Course Exams.
On Friday, July 22, she passed away peacefully.
Ms. Susi was one of two siblings and proud daughter of Salvino “Sal” Susi and Patricia Roberts Susi, who she credited with teaching her to be positive, even in the face of adversity.
Teaching brought her together with husband Donn Taylor. Married for fifteen years, they faced life’s challenges together. She retired from Miami-Dade County Public Schools in 2014, having worked at Miami Lakes Educational Center, Barbara Goleman Senior High, and Lakes Stevens Middle School. Everywhere she went, she made an impact.
Ms. Susi was a loving and devoted wife, sister, cousin, aunt, and friend. She is survived by her husband, Donn Taylor, brother Richard Michael Susi, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Her zest for life, her empathy and compassion have inspired everyone who had the privilege to know her.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to The Marian Center School 15701 NW 37th Avenue, Opa Locka, FL 33054 or The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) 2501 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 435, Dallas, TX 75219. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.