Susan Dianne Koonce, 69, passed away peacefully in her sleep at 1:30 AM on Friday, July 24, 2020 at her daughter’s home in Richmond, TX. Susan was born on December 28, 1950 in Peoria, IL to Everett L and Dorothy Helen (Anderson) Potter.
Susan married the love of her life and best friend Thomas (Tom) Koonce on June 12, 1976 in Delavan, IL. He survives along with her two daughters Emily (Jeffrey) Maresh of Noblesville, IN and Mary (Joshua) Rassi of Richmond, TX ; six grandchildren Lauren, Ella Rose and Anderson Maresh and Abraham, Eliza and Everett Rassi; her step-daughter, Amy Mitchell, of Shakopee, MN; six step-grandchildren Christopher, Nathan, Alyssa, Miranda, Connor and David and six step-great grandchildren.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, Everett and Helen Potter and beloved Aunts: Charlotte, Louise, Esther and Lucille, Uncles: Chester, Everett and Bill and two cousins.
Susan was raised in Delavan, IL where she graduated from Delavan Community High School in 1968. She went on to attend Illinois State University graduating in 1972 earning a BA in English Education with a minor in Sociology. In 1972, she began her teaching career at Moweaqua High School, now known as Central A&M. Tom and Susan moved back to Delavan in 1978 where Susan taught one semester at Hartem High School before receiving a teaching position with Delavan Community Schools. There she taught HS/JH English until she retired in 2012 after almost 40 years in education.
Susan, known as “Kooncie” to her students, could be found with a cup of coffee in hand, pouring her love for English into her classes. Her beloved red cursive notes on every student’s essay left a lasting impression, and her uncanny ability to be tough yet relatable earned her students’ respect and admiration. During her tenure, she severed as a Drama Club sponsor, a class sponsor, an organizer of the Delavan Carnival and a JH Student Council sponsor.
Susan had a passion for women’s and teachers’ rights. In 1982, after the birth of her second daughter, she fought for a change in teachers’ maternity leave rights resulting in new maternity laws for Illinois teachers. She also served as a member of the Delavan Teachers’ Union in various capacities, including Union President, and later become a mentor to new union representatives.
Susan had a very strong faith and was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. Susan completed a faith led journey through the Kogudus Ministry, and in the 1990s, she and Tom served as volunteers in the Kogudus kitchen. During trying times, she could often be found studying her Bible for guidance and peace.
During retirement, Susan enjoyed spending time with her family and watching her grandchildren grow. She and Tom could often be found at the closest Barnes & Noble’s reading and drinking coffee. She loved her summers at their condo in Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL watching the sunrise over the ocean while reading books and relishing the memories of her grandchildren on the beach.
Memorials may be made to a scholarship fund set up at Morton Community Bank.
Cremation was made in accordance with Susan’s wishes. A celebration of life service will be at 11:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2021 at Delavan United Methodist Church. Rev. Dean Blackburn will officiate. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 pm Friday, also at the church. A private family burial will take place at a later date.
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