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In loving memory of
Martha Sue Cunningham Parkerson “Sue”
  • July 26, 1933
  • -
  • April 07, 2021

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Martha Sue Cunningham Parkerson “Sue”, of Ormond Beach, Florida, passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on April 7, 2021. Sue lived her life by a single motto: Do everything with love. Her devotion to this simple but powerful philosophy explains the extraordinary bonds she formed with family, friends, and even casual acquaintances.

Sue was born on July 26, 1933, in Brooksville, Florida, to Ben and Nita Cunningham. She spent her childhood in Orlando, followed by a family move to Savannah, Georgia where she forged lifelong friendships through Girl Scouts and Savannah High School. Scouting played a particularly special part of her youth, and Sue delighted in seeing that important bond cemented when her teen scout uniform became part of the collection of the Girl Scout First Headquarters Museum. Sue met the love of her life, John B. Parkerson, at Savannah High School, where the two were voted “Most Likely to Succeed” as seniors, graduating in 1951.

Sue continued her education at Armstrong Junior College, earning an Associate of Arts degree. With her passion for teaching piqued in an earlier summer job as a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, Sue returned to education and taught at Oglethorpe Elementary School for one year upon graduation.

Sue and John married on September 11, 1954, at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah and enjoyed a wonderful 66-year marriage. After John’s graduation from Duke University, the couple moved to Silver Spring, Maryland, where John pursued a career in government, and they raised a family. Sue embraced nurturing their four children – motherhood was her passion – and thrived in the years to come as a grandmother and great-grandmother. She shared her maternal love with all that she knew, and many claimed her as their second mother.

Upon John’s retirement, the two moved to Florida to care for both sets of aging parents. In Ormond Beach, Sue’s warmth and care stretched to others around her and the civic organizations that make a city a community. Her devotion to service found an outlet in local politics and in numerous organizations, including Citizens for Ormond Beach, Citizens and Neighbors Devoted to Ormond, Historic Landmark Preservation Board for the City of Ormond Beach, Friends of the Ormond Beach Library, and the Ormond Beach Garden Club. Sue left her mark not only on the organizations themselves but even more so on the individuals, who found their lives richer for the friendship they found with her.

An organizer and a people person at heart, Sue formed the glue to hold together many circles of friends over her lifetime. She cherished family and friendships more than anything and loved nothing more than graciously sharing her southern hospitality in her beautiful home or spending time rocking on the front porch enjoying the view of the Halifax River. Her home was always filled with love, laughter, and fresh flowers. A southern lady with a keen sense of style, including a penchant for matching shoes and hats, Sue radiated joy and love. She taught us to do everything with love, be kind and forgive others. And that it is just as easy to wear things that match than things that don’t. She was so generous with her time, spirit, and heart. Sue truly leaves a legacy of love.

Sue is predeceased by her parents and her older brother, Ben Cunningham, Jr. She is survived by her husband, John Parkerson, and children, John Parkerson, Jr. (Kathy) of Catonsville, MD, Sara Parkerson Vita (Gary) of Reisterstown, MD, Jane Ferry (Tony) of Orlando, FL, and Bill Parkerson (Carolyn) of Kansas City, MO. She is also survived by her brother Bill Cunningham (Laurie), sister Mary Smith (Jerry), twelve grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Thomas Hrozencik (Ilana), Elizabeth Byrd (Jonathan), Emily Harper (Rick), Tony Ferry, John Ferry, Andrew Parkerson, James Parkerson, Grace Parkerson, Julia Parkerson, Kathryn Levitae (Yale), Beth Vitel (Tommy), and Michael Vita, one great-grandson, Samuel Hrozencik, and one great-step-granddaughter, Lorraine Levitae. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Wednesday, June 9th at 2pm at First United Methodist Church at 336 S. Halifax Drive in Ormond Beach. For those concerned about attending in-person, the service will be live-streamed at www.firstunited.org. For further information call 386-677-3581.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Friends of Library Access, PO Box 10716, Daytona Beach, FL 32120.


First United Methodist Church
336 South Halifax Drive, Ormond Beach, FL 32176
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Date & Time:
June 9, 2021 at 2:00 PM

Tri City Crematory

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  1. Alan and Lynn Burton says:
    09 Jun 2021
    Our condolences to John and your beautiful family,
    Sue was a truly loving and gentle lady who always had a kind word, an encouraging word, and kept up with those she cared about. She kept us all in motion too! She supported people and programs. She was a part of her community, always doing what she could to make it a better more beautiful place because she was a part of it. She is and will continue to be remembered and missed by all of us whom she touched. We were blessed by her and greatly appreciated her friendship.
    Alan and Lynn

  2. Jane Funk says:
    07 Jun 2021
    My loving friend from garden club, book club, and library board. A truly wonderful friend. HLSR

  3. Cheryl Williamson says:
    25 May 2021
    I am one who claims Sue Parkerson as a second mother, having known her since I was 7 or 8. She and my mother, Marie Curtis, were close friends and Sue was always there for me when my mother could not be there. She was a very special person and I will miss her very much.
    Cheryl Curtis Williamson

  4. Michael Lee Jones says:
    10 May 2021
    Sue was a dear friend of mine, as well as my parents. My mother, Laura Rains Jones, worked with her in CFOB and local politics. My dad, Edward Ernest Jones, attended high school with her in Savannah. So interesting that they ended up living only about a mile apart in OB. Sue helped me with my wedding preparations at the OB War Memorial Gardens and The Casements in 2011. She continued to visit my parents in their failing health until the very end of her own life. My wife, Caroline Koff, and my stepson, Simon Walker, loved her and thought so highly of her. We will miss her and will always remember her kind and generous manner.

  5. Michael Lee Jones lit a candle:
    10 May 2021
    Lit since May 10, 2021 at 5:22:47 AM

  6. Mary McCarthy says:
    06 May 2021
    Sue was the personification of charm and grace. Truly she was a Southern Lady-loved by all who knew her. We both treasured the ways. of a more genteel past. and I miss her but memories will soften the sadness. "She walks in beauty" and grace.

  7. Julie Stearns says:
    05 May 2021
    I’m deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Sue Parkerson.
    Her friendship with me is one of the greatest memories and Blessings of my entire life,
    We enjoyed many happy times together.
    We met in the Ormond Beach Garden Club. The novel,,Girl of the Limberlost ,was a mutually shared interest enjoyed by us.
    I will always feel Sue’s love and presence in my life.

  8. Carol Johnson says:
    16 Apr 2021
    Sue was wonderful. I will miss her forever.

  9. Carol Johnson says:
    16 Apr 2021
    I’m so sad to hear this news. Sue was wonderful, and I will miss her forever.

  10. Rita & Martin Press says:
    15 Apr 2021
    We were saddened to learn of the passing of Sue. She was the epitome of a lovely, gracious Southern woman. Sue left a legacy of working to make Ormond a wonderful place to live. It was her caring about others that made her so beloved by all that knew her .

  11. Patsy Franklin says:
    14 Apr 2021
    I enjoyed working with Sue at the library. Sue brought joy to many. She was so proud of her family. I will miss her.

  12. Jim Burnett, City Planner says:
    14 Apr 2021
    Just heard from her husband, John, about Sue's passing - wow, sad news - Sue was a long-time friend from when I used to work for the City... She will be sorely missed by all friends and family, myself included!

  13. Jane Finchum says:
    14 Apr 2021
    So very sorry for your loss. Sue was such an amazing person and will be greatly missed. Her warm and gracious manner drew others to her. My family and I feel blessed to have been her friend.

  14. Ginny Turner says:
    14 Apr 2021
    So sorry to hear about Sue's passing. She was a wonderful lady. She was a great contributor to CFOB & will be greatly missed.

    Ginny Turner

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