Suzanne Smith, long time resident of Ft. Myers and Ft. Myers Beach lost a losing battle with Alzheimer’s and left us on July the 16th. Suzanne was born in Galesburg, IL. on July 3rd, 1934 to her parents Sarafin and Mildred Filich, who both migrated to the US from Yugoslavia in the early 1900’s. She was the last remaining member of her family and is predeceased by her parents, 6 siblings, and her daughter, Teresa Brantley. She is survived by her husband Bruce, daughter, Laura Meyer, (Paul), Son, Steven Smith, (Barb), 6 Grandchildren, and 7 Great Grandchildren, all residing in Lee County. Suzanne and Bruce eloped in January 1953 prior to her husband’s 4-year enlistment in the USAF during the Korean War. The 4-year tour of duty ended at Hamilton AFB, California and the family moved back across the US to Florida where Bruce had accepted a position with IBM Corp. Adapting to the Florida lifestyle Suzanne became a very proficient water skier, certified SUBA diver and avid Tennis player. The family settled permanently in Ft. Myers in March of 1960. With 3 young children she was a devoted mother spending many hours at horseshows, wrestling matches and sporting events. When Bruce changed his career path to Marketing, Suzanne traded her skies and the Ski Boat for a fishing rod and the first of 5 boats all named after her. Suzanne became involved in all sorts of diverse jobs and activities. She did live commercials on WINK TV, Ft. Myers’ only TV Station at the
time. She received her Real Estate License and was an agent with, George E Adams Realtors. She joined the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority; whose goal was to raise money and awareness for Mental Health and served one year as President. The Sorority put on a Yearly Dance and Amateur talent show called the “Follies”, in the Old Ft. Myers Exhibition Hall, long since torn down. Her love of dancing always had her in the ladies dance line, and several times in a solo number. In her later years she took up Line Dancing with a passion. She loved clothes and worked part time for several years for a Woman’s Boutique in the Bell Tower Mall. In 1986, after Bruce’s early retirement from IBM, and the children now out of the house and on their own, Suzanne decided we needed to downsize and find a place to dock our present boat, the Suzanne II. We sold the 5-acre ranch complete with horses and 4 stall barn, and now empty nest and moved to Boardwalk Caper. Summers would find our current boat in the Keys at the Faro Blanco Marina or the Marathon Yacht Club, where we would spend long weekends fishing and diving, especially during Lobster Season. Suzanne and I prompted the inception of the Boardwalk Caper YC and she named and edited the Yacht Club’s newsletter the “Land Lines” the first few years. Suzanne also enjoyed decorating the tables for the annual Change of Watch Dinner Dance and one of the Ladies “Spring Fling” Luncheons. Suzanne loved cruising, especially to new destinations, and was a terrific navigator before any GPS. She had also taken both the Power Squadron and Coast Guard Auxiliary Courses and could handle any of the boats we owned without any trouble. Until 2004, when we sold our last cruising boat, the “Suzanne V”, we had toured the West Coast of Florida from Tarpon Springs to the Keys and Dry Tortugas, all of the interior of the Everglades, the East Coast of Florida from Miami to St. Augustine, up the St Johns River from Jacksonville to Sanford, and one two month trip up the Intra coastal all the way to Baltimore and back. Many Bahamas cruises to the Abacos, the Berry’s or Nassau. One of her favorite places to get away and spend a weekend was Pelican Bay, on the inside of Cayo Costa in Pine Island Sound. Suzanne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 5 years ago, after a great deal of discussion and research with family and help from the Alvin Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, we placed her in a Memory Care Facility called Arden Court. Their layout and level of care suited her perfectly and her last two years were happy and peaceful. My little Dancing Queen of 67 years will be missed by all her family and especially me, her best friend, Husband and Bed buddy. The family will hold a private memorial and friends wishing to make a donation in her honor can send it to the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, 12468 Brantley Commons Court, Ft. Myers FL. 33907.