Born in New Orleans to Herbert (Jim) and Marian Germain, Sue grew up in Southern California. The second of 7 children, her father was a WWII army veteran and her mother a dedicated homemaker. Sue graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, followed by 3 years as an ICU nurse in UCLA’s neurosurgery medical center. She met her husband, Bob, on a trip to Lake Nacimiento in 1972, and they married shortly thereafter in May 1973. She retired from her job as a nurse to pursue a higher calling, raising her 4 children as the family moved from Pasadena to Portland, where they’ve lived since.
A dedicated and loving mother, Sue volunteered at her children’s schools for over 19 years. Her children share warm memories of her helping them with their homework, bandaging their scrapes and bruises (ever the nurse!), and leading their scout troops. She tirelessly shuttled them from soccer practices to skating lessons, from basketball camps to baseball games, and everywhere in between. She was a talented and versatile seamstress, making every one of her girls’ prom dresses and figure skating outfits, and all her children’s Halloween costumes. Later in her life, this passion manifested in beautiful hand stitched quilts.
A lifelong learner, Sue loved solving complex problems - taking antique sewing machines and cabinets, dismantling them and rehabilitating them into pristine operating condition. She taught her children to love learning, to find something new to learn everyday, and she stressed the importance of building foundational knowledge on topics before branching out to deeper subtopics. And she modeled the way for her children as she pursued her own passions in World War II history, becoming a noted WWII historian and author. She penned two biographies of WWII veterans, and was instrumental in locating the families of the crewman of a WWII warplane downed on Mont Blanc in the Alps, who were to be honored in both Italy and France for their service and sacrifice.
After a 21-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Sue passed away peacefully on a sunny July morning in 2021, surrounded by family and loving caregivers. She is survived by her husband, Bob, and her 4 children, Joan (Brian) Chaney, Rob (Angelique) Harold, Laura (JJ) Kirkish, and Kevin (Asha) Harold and her 11 grandchildren. She is also survived by her siblings, Marilyn, Patricia, Kate, and Steve. She is loved by all, and will be dearly missed.
A very special, heartfelt thank you to Sue’s caregivers, especially Mele, Sana, and Arlyn. They provided comfort and joy in her final days, months, and years, and we are forever grateful for their friendship and care.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity close to Sue’s heart: the OHSU Parkinson’s Center Harold Family Endowment (by calling 503-228-1730), or the St. Mary’s Academy Harold Family Endowment for Teacher Salaries (https://www.stmaryspdx.org/support-sma/endowment).
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