Born on August 5, 1938 in Darby, Pennsylvania
Departed July 31, 2022 in Melbourne, Florida
Susan (‘Sue’) Carol Smith van Vonno passed away on July 31 2022 in Melbourne, Florida after a short fight with an unrelenting illness.
Sue was born on 5 August 1938 in Darby, Pennsylvania to Charles Smith and V. Mae McCullam Smith. She grew up in Brookline and Drexel Hill, both in Pennsylvania, and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1955 with her husband Kenneth Walters. Later she and Ken moved to Melbourne when it was still a cowboy town, with quiet two-lane roads and a beautiful, crystal-clear Indian River. Sue graduated from Melbourne High School in 1976 but always identified with Eau Gallie. Sue and Kenneth had five children: Charles Kenneth Walters (who died as an infant), Cynthia (Cyndi) Lynn Walters Henry, Christine (Chris) Lee Henderson, Carol Sue Reed and Alan Gregory Walters.
Sue was always a loyal and committed employee of Radiation, Incorporated, Harris Semiconductor and Collins Radio (now Collins Aerospace), mostly in supervisory roles, and developed life-long friendships with many fellow employees. She retired from Collins in 1989 and devoted much of her time to genealogical research and patriotic organizations. She was a board member of the Genealogical Society of South Brevard and a member of the Commodore John Barry chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of Union Veterans, the National Rifle Association and the Brevard Federated Republican Women. Sue was also an active board member of the Melbourne Liberty Bell Museum. She put together several successful family reunions and in the words of Nick’s older brother Klaas: ‘Sue brings people together’. I can think of no greater compliment.
In 1989 Sue married Nick van Vonno of Melbourne. Nick was an engineer at Harris Semiconductor, and business travel took the couple to exciting destinations all over Europe and the US. She loved cruises and took many, including a memorable trip to Australia and New Zealand and several Transatlantic crossings and Panama Canal transits.
Sue was predeceased by her first husband Kenneth Walters, by her daughter Christine Henderson and by her grandsons Phillip Alan Henry and Kenneth (Kenny) Alan Walters. She is survived by her husband Nicolaas W. van Vonno of Melbourne and children Cyndi (Jimmie) Henry of Titusville, Alan (Nancy) Walters of Titusville, Carol Reed of Sheridan, Wyoming and stepson Nicolaas J. (Sabrina) van Vonno of Melbourne as well as eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She also leaves a grieving host of cousins, nephews, nieces and lifelong friends.
Sue was a firm believer in tough love, and her children were successful in their chosen fields. She was well known for her skills in decorating her Indian River home in Melbourne. She was always kind and most generous to anyone who crossed her path, but equally she most certainly spoke her mind even if you perhaps did not want to hear it. Those who knew her will attest to her tremendous loyalty, her strong work ethic, her spontaneous sense of humor and her ability to make people laugh.
A service will be held at Brownlie and Maxwell Funeral Home (321 723 2345) in Melbourne at noon on October 8, 2022. Donations may be made in Sue’s name to the Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or the Hospice organization of your choice.
It has taken almost two months to write on here. I just didn't want to believe that my wonderful friend is no longer here except in spirit. I think of her every single day and wish I could pick up the phone and chat with her as we always did. She was a great listener and could console you in good and bad times. She always had time to give to her friends and loved ones and always made you feel comfortable. The times we spent together as couples will always remain special. We go back to the 80's. I am thankful that I got to spend precious time with her this past spring and summer. We had some enjoyable moments filled with lots of conversation and laughs. I miss you Sue, there will never be another friend quite as spunky, gutsy, funny and full of life always! Your presence is terribly missed. Nick, you know we are here for you whenever you need us.. Always, Carole & Dave
This was a great shock to me! So sorry, we all loved Sue and I enjoyed our times together at NSREC!!
Sue was a special friend and person. We enjoyed going to many genealogical research trips to Salt Lake City, various genealogical conferences, meetings, and seminars over the years. I don’t think she ever met a stranger and she made friends wherever she went. She was so vivacious and interesting. She touched many lives. I share in your loss and want to extend my deepest sympathy to her family. Rest in Peace dear Sue.
There’s always more words to say, but two that stand out are thank you. Thank you for all that did for all of us. The way you developed so many of us is nothing short of amazing. As a kid you always had my back, told me what I needed to hear, picked me up when I needed it, educated me, mentored me and helped shape me into the man I am today. The things I enjoy today, are a tribute to the love you showed me. For that I’ll always be thankful. Thank you, Oma.
I miss you, the world is a dimmer place without you. It always will be. Your good nature, hard work and tough love are a legacy that lives through all you have touched, and that brightens the world a little. There are so many good memories that I’ll cherish forever, from the theater as a kid, holidays, sitting in your office hanging on the edge of history lessons only you could teach and that one last hug. They all mean the world to me, they really do.
You were an amazing lady, who loved all of us with all you had. Thank you for everything you gave us and taught us in life. To me though, most importantly, thank you for being my Oma, I wouldn’t be where I am without you.
I love you.
I got to know Sue about 10 years ago on one of her trips around the country with Nick @ NSREC. We only saw each other about every two years, but we stayed in touch on FB. She always had a ready smile and was my friend the minute she said hello. She was a bright star and will be truly missed. Love to you, Nick
Nick & Family; So sorry to hear about Sue. She was a delight to have along on our many trips and conferences over the years. I know she will be missed.
I met Sue in the summer of 1973 after becoming friends with her children. Sue was a wonderful, funny,smart lady who kept us in line. She treated me as one of her own and I will never forget her. Some of my best memories are from her home on Katherine Blvd. Love ya Sue rest in peace .
So sorry for your loss🙏🙏🙏
We will surely miss Sue’s fun ways and friendship. Our neighborhood Friday afternoon Covid parties will never be the same without her quick wit and laughter, we always had something to talk about or problem to solve. Love you Sue😘
I love you, Grandma ❤️ I’ll miss you forever. I’ll never forget our time together, the things you taught me, and the love you showed me. I’ll miss celebrating our birthdays together and miss your hugs. I hope you’re having a blast in Heaven with Gramma Mae, Aunt Chris, Phillip, Kenny, and Grandad Ken! I love you so much ❤️
We loved you Sue!! Going to miss our lunches as the Townsend girls get together!! You were a wonderful friend and loved your humor. Thoughts and prayers for your family!! Love, Valerie Alfano and Beverly Rawson Dibble
I am so sorry for your loss. My heartfelt prayers to all of the family.
Commodore John Barry Chapter, NSDAR
Losing a friend like Sue V is never easy- We enjoyed many adventures together and I am so thankful to call her friend- There will never be another like her. Instead of dwelling on our loss we need to celebrate a life well lived- I love you Sue Van vonno!
Daughter Cyndi Henry was there for all of us these past few weeks - AN angel walks this earth -Your Mama would be so proud-
Prayers for peace to all who loved her