Suzanne Tyner

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Suzanne Tyner. We will remember her forever.
Memorial Tributes
Candle lit  by Pat Sulier on July 12th, 2017

I am writing this for the general public as the Tyners already know how I feel.
To know Suzy Tyner was one of the great privilges of my life.With a friendship spanning over 50 years starting when her daughter, Mary Jane and I attended Notre Dame Academy as “fresh women”, there hasn’t been a time when I wasn’t happy to see her. “Mrs. Tyner”, as I always felt the need to call her, was a woman of certain standards…standards she never had to preach because she lived them, and by doing that, there was the implied expectation that we should hold to those standards as well. (Well, we tried.) I never heard of her accomplishments until later in life, but even without that, I understood that this was a woman who could have done just about anything she wanted as she had the intelligence, the self-assurance, the perseverance, and the ability to adapt to any challenge that came her way. These qualities came into play with the work she chose, and certainly the way she cared for and managed her children and the children of others as a teacher and an involved and trusted parent. My parents felt totally comforted knowing that I was welcomed and treated with respect by Suzy and her husband, Bob.
Despite the apparent ease with how she carried herself, I didn’t start to understand until my later years (my 40s) how really difficult raising an autistic child was, nor what she had gone through in the early years (50s and 60s) when the cruel and erroneous moniker “refrigerator mom” was stuck on anyone who had an autistic or schizophrenic child. This term was coined by a so-called “world renowned expert psychiatrist” who would be later be debunked not only for his faulty theory but also because his credentials were also false. I first heard of this through her own retelling of the struggles in getting her beloved son the services he needed back then, and both times when I heard it, I saw tears in her eyes. The hurt was still quite palpable. However, this pain did not discourage or stop Suzy or Bob. They did everything possible and spared no expense to insure that their son could have quality of life. He is still with us, and the devotion of the Tyners has everything to do with that fact.
Some people would have enough to do just dealing with this problem alone. But Suzy and Bob went on to have two other great kids who have had good careers and have solid families of their own. They also had a wonderful marriage, a great partnership in which they made the best use of their talents while also having a whole lot of fun on this planet. They were, as a couple, “a perfect pairing”. In addition, Suzy and Bob created their own family foundation which launched The Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, an organization to assist autistic children and their families so that other families could have the best and the brightest available to them to help them give their children the best chance available at maximizing their own special talents and internal resources. This was not an easily expedited task, and it took many years to evolve into what it is today, but again, as the challenges presented themselves, the Tyners have been there.  Suzy’s spirit was and is certainly a guiding force as her children now take the reins of the family foundation as well as sit on the board of the GLCA.
I will miss my sweet friend. I will miss her incredible humor, and her great heart. I will think of her at every 5 p.m. “happy hour” toast that I ever have again. Here’s to Suzy Tyner and a life well-lived!

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