Suzanne Gardner Bussian passed away at NC Memorial Hospital at UNC-Chapel Hill on Saturday, October 25, after a long battle with a rare cancer. Suzanne’s optimism and courage in fighting her cancer — including neutron radiation treatment at the University of Washington in Seattle and gene therapy at the National Cancer Institute — inspired all who knew her.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 27 years, John Bussian, daughter Brittany Bussian, and son Adam Bussian, and her mother, Sharon Gardner, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Suzanne was predeceased by her father, Samuel Gardner.
Suzanne graduated from Haddonfield, New Jersey Memorial High School in 1977, attended Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA, where she played on the tennis team, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Pathology from the University of Maryland in 1981, and went on to earn a master’s degree in speech pathology from Nova Southeastern University in 1985. She worked as a speech pathologist at North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida and later with Treyburn Rehabilitation Center and Triangle Aphasia Project, a non-profit group in Durham, ministering principally to stroke victims.
She came to North Carolina in 1992 and with her husband, raised their family in Durham. Suzanne was a member of the Congregation at Duke University Chapel, and was instrumental in launching Durham Academy’s varsity girls’ lacrosse program. Throughout her life, Suzanne’s grace, dignity, love, kindness, and considerate ways endeared her to family, members of the medical community, and friends. Her special relationship and bond with her husband and partner John was an inspiration to all who have known them.
Suzanne’s family wishes to thank the countless people who helped Suzanne wage her battle with cancer, in particular Drs. Steven Rosenberg and Wyndam Wilson at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Nancy Klimas at the University of Miami, Dr. Kris Moe at the University of Washington in Seattle, Drs. Robert Bashford and Lee Berkowitz at UNC Medical School, Drs. Louis Diehl and Scott Levin at Duke University Medical Center, and the nurses at UNC-Chapel Hill who ensured that she joined the angels peacefully.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Morton Gift Fund, University of Miami, 1120 NW 14th St., Room 711, Miami, FL 33136, Attn: Dr. Nancy Klimas. These funds will be used for important research in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at the direction of Dr. Klimas, who was a long-time friend and physician of Suzanne.
The funeral service will be held at 3:00p.m. on Sunday, November 2 at Duke University Chapel. A reception will be held immediately following the funeral at the Washington-Duke Inn on the campus of Duke University. Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham, NC is handling the arrangements.