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Susan Hunt Harper

susan harper
On Monday, April 7, 2014, Suzanne (Susan) Hunt Harper succumbed to a variety of factors after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Loving husband of almost 46 years, Howard, and son Jonathan, were at her side. Her other two sons, Daniel of Florida and Timothy of
Richmond joined them later that week.

She was a faithful wife of 45 years and ten months, traveling around the world in support of her husband's career, raising three boys, many times by herself. Suzanne gave countless hours to Army Community Services (ACS) welcoming newly arriving Army families, helping as they lived there and as they outprocessed. She wrote/edited their newsletters, worked in their loan closets, and handled visitor-bureau type duties for surrounding communities, schools, stores, etc. As the children grew older, she volunteered in Army and local school
libraries, became a scout den mother and soccer Mom, basketball Mom, T-ball Mom, and swim Mom, as well as PTA member. In her "waiting time" she began doing excellent needlepoint pictures. Many were given as gifts, many others decorate the home, and are usually first mistaken as paintings by casual visitors.

Every Military wife has had some tough times to encounter, especially those with children to care for. The usual (not all inclusive) moving problems of leaving old friends (parents and kids), making new friends, throwing out old expendables, condiments and food, replacing it with new, finding new stores, doctors, etc., re-registering vehicles, voting registration, school registration, shots and physicals, rearranging furniture (or repairing/replacing broken or lost furniture,) reconnecting utilities, etc., etc.

Additional challenges for Suzanne: In 1969 Suzanne arrived alone in Germany 6 months pregnant, was picked up by her husband and driven to her new residence in Wuerzburg, Germany. Two hours later he was called out on a military alert to emergency deployment positions for a five-day military exercise, though the duration was unknown at the time of alert. Welcome to Germany. Many of these followed but the first was by far the most traumatic. Three years later with husband in Viet Nam, one child to care for, and pregnant with the second, she wrote daily letters to Viet Nam. After five months or so, for several weeks they were returned as undeliverable, causing her to think the worst. The
administrative problem was finally resolved and letters started flowing both ways again.

Years later, an assignment to Iran seemed a wonderful chance to experience the grandness and culture of Persia, and a wonderful alternative to another tour in Germany. It was just that, until the revolution. In April 1978 the unrest became apparent -chanting crowds and signal fires in the mountains at night. In May, someone painted graffiti in black paint on our yellow car. The words were so vile, neighbors wouldn't even translate them for us. In September they declared Martial Law after the evening crowds got more rowdy. The kids had to lie on the school bus floor while traveling to and from school, they had armed guards. A picture of a crowd of protestors in front of a bus at their school made the cover of one of the two major U.S. weekly news magazines in September 1978, alerting all friends and family at home to the seriousness of our situation. After months of asking for safe passage for U.S. families to leave Iran, we got a call one night in early December. Wives and children should meet at 7:30 the next morning with one suitcase for each for an escorted, armed bus trip to the airport .-Name a further destination when you arrive in Greece. Off
she went with four suitcases, three boys under the age of ten, with one (early) Christmas toy each to get on an Air Force C-130 Cargo plane for a 2500 mile trip on the first leg of an uncharted return to Cleveland, Ohio, over 24 hours of flying away. At the end of which, she had to move into her parents two spare bedrooms, re-register kids in school, etc. etc., and buy new clothes for all four of them. And the nightly news was filled with scenes of husband/father in a far-away place with demonstrations, riots, fires, cries of "Yanqii go home" and "Death to America" resonating everywhere. Another tough situation for a Mom.

Faith, prayer, dedication, determination, drive, motivation, love, perseverance, - all practiced and tested to some degree in her life up to then, were necessary to pull her and the boys through the next three and a half months, again not knowing ahead of time the required duration which makes it all even harder. Rest in peace sweetheart, you deserve it.

Over the last 30 years as her eyesight, dexterity, balance, and mobility lessened she insisted it was not a handicap, but an "inconvenience". Her sharp wit, great sense of humor, and giving/loving demeanor will be missed by many.

Survivors include husband Howard and son Jonathan of Fairfax, VA, son Daniel (Shari, Shep, Jayden) of Niceville, FL, and son Tim (Charlene, Erin, Molly) of Midlothian, VA.

She was preceded by a baby Brother and her Mother and Father. Survivors include a Brother James in Washington, Brother Jesse in New York, Sister Noel in South Carolina, and Stepmother Dorothy in Ohio.

Cremation was in Chantilly, Virginia, burial is pending, planned for Arlington National Cemetery.

Funeral Home

Funeral Choices
14522L Lee Road
Chantilly, VA 20151

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Memories Timeline


  1. A beautiful tribute to a very special person, who has made a difference in the lives with whom she connected. I am her cousin, and what I remember most about Susan was her wit, her beauty and her determination. She always referred to my Mom & Dad, her aunt and uncle, as the Duke & Duchess…which they loved! Now, she has joined them! Blessed be, dear Susan, Howie and family.

  2. Dear Howie, You did a great job in what you wrote, capturing the real essence of your wonderful wife and all that’s true about her. I’m glad Noelle and I could chat with you face to face, hear your memories, and see your heart for Suzanne. She was married to a faithful man! I’ll be praying for you in the days to come as you work through your loss.

  3. Dear Howie, Dan, Tim and Jon. It’s hard to believe that Susan is gone. Mentally it takes time to adjust that there will be no more phone calls together with Susan. There is an emptiness there that I feel. At times I find myself wishing I could have told her one last time I loved her. She knew that though, so there are no regrets. I was proud to be her sister and learned a lot about perseverance as I watched her battle with MS over the years. She rarely complained. As a family I am also proud of how each of you loved Susan well. You faithfully cared for her and made sure she had what she needed day by day. You modeled faithfulness. As we all move ahead, I am thankful that God is our refuge and strength. His perfect love can fill all of our gaps. He is always good. He has transformed my heart with His perfect peace. Looking forward to spending more time together as a family in the future. We need each other.

  4. Gail and Tony Todd share your great feeling of loss. Our cousin, Susan, was always a trooper and always extra fun to be with. Your memories are many and such thoughts will certainly give you strength. We are thinking of all of you.

  5. Sue was the best sister a brother could ever have. I loved her dearly and will miss her dearly, Jesse. We had a lot of fun together.

  6. We first met Suzanne and Howard in Iran. My first encounter with Suzanne was when I walked into the Army Community Services office in Tehran after just arriving in Iran. I was greeted by this beautiful lady with a warm and welcoming smile. She was so caring and humorous, my fears and apprehensions of being in a new culture so foreign to me disappeared. She was that kind of person, friendly to everyone. We became friends with Suzanne and Howard during our two years there. I often thought of her after we returned to the US remembering her funny wit and wished that I could see her again. We were thrilled several years later to meet up with Suzanne and Howard again in Virginia, where our friendship deepened. We’ll remember Suzanne for her courage, caring, friendship and her gift of making people smile. She was a special lady and we’ll miss her very much. Our heartfelt condolences to you Howard, Dan, Tim, and Jon during this time of loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. Dear Howie, Jon, Dan and Tim, The obituary you wrote for Susan was heartfelt. Your love and appreciation for all she did as wife and mother during some very stressful situations was beautifully expressed. Hans and I feel fortunate to have had a relationship with her. Susan initiated the first of many phone calls over the years. We cousins became phone buddies and always had a lot of laughs. She reached out to my parents, the "Duke" and "Duchess", too. As I said in our note, surely "Maxine" is also mourning the loss of such a remarkable person. She will be sorely missed. With much love, Sally and Hans

  8. Dear Family of Susan, I am so sorry to hear of her passing. I actually looked for her a few years ago, but had no idea what her married name was. Someone just posted a note on our MacArthur High School 50th anniversary facebook page, so I was able to google her obituary by knowing her maiden name and birth year. I knew Susan well in elementary school, as our little group wandered from one school to another (5-6 schools in 6 years, depending on whether you count a re-named/re-staffed building as 2different schools). I remember her friendly smile, her energy, and especially her long, straight brown hair which we spent hours of school bus time braiding! I was hoping to see her in September at our reunion. She will be greatly missed there. Vivian Hermann Singer (formerly at 832 Brent Dr., Wantagh)

  9. Heaven has a beautiful angel. What an incredible gift she gave to this world. We are all blessed to have had her in our lives.

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