By Submitted Story on September 9, 2022
Dr. Susan “Suzy” Edmondson Frucci, 86, of Southern Shores, passed into the next life on June 19, 2022. Susan was born on Oct. 28, 1935 in Hassell, North Carolina (an eastern NC town with a population of less than 200). Daughter of Ernest Edmondson and Ella Moore Davenport, Susan was raised as an only child on her family’s farm. Growing up, she was fond of reading, tap dancing and playing piano. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Shortly after graduation, Susan fell in love with and married Lt. Col. Allen LeRoy Frucci, USMC. Together, they had three children, Greg, Maria and Steven, and spent their early adult lives moving around the United States (and briefly to Japan) for Al’s military service. Susan and her family spent many summers on Ocracoke Island, where she indulged in some of her favorite activities – socializing, reading, playing bridge and going to the beach.
In her 50s, Susan returned to UNC-Chapel Hill to earn her master’s degree, which was followed almost immediately by a fully-funded Ph.D. program in psychology. At the time, Greg had already graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, but Maria and Steven were still undergraduate students at Chapel Hill. Susan loved to tell the story of a Daily Tar Heel reporter approaching her on campus and asking if they could write a feature story about what it was like to be a student at the same time as your kids (she declined, out of respect for Maria and Steven’s privacy – or so the story goes). By this time, Al had retired from the military and the family had moved to Currituck County. In the late 1980s, they moved to Nags Head and Susan spent many years traveling back and forth from the Outer Banks to Chapel Hill, where she worked as an adjunct professor. During and after her stint as a professor, Susan worked as a tutor and a counselor on the Outer Banks. She was an active member in the church and lovingly helped raise her granddaughter, Arabella after Maria passed in 2004. Susan happily resided on the Outer Banks for over thirty years, until October 2020, when health complications led her to an assisted living facility in Virginia Beach.
Susan was preceded in death by her husband, Al, and her daughter, Maria. She is survived by her two sons, Steven and Greg, her daughter-in-law, Janice Frucci, her son-in-law, Randy Saunders, four grandchildren, Kate Rustici, Arabella Frucci-Saunders, Nicholas Frucci and Connor Frucci, her companion, David Bakken, and countless friends.
Susan was whip-smart, drop-dead gorgeous, hilarious, dedicated and generous. She spent the last days of her life surrounded by family, friends and some outstanding staff members at her assisted living facility. Tears flowed steady – because it is an unbelievably sad act to witness a force like Susan leave us all behind, but also because in between squeezing her hand and kissing her head, the stories we traded back and forth about Susan and her life were so funny you couldn’t help but laugh till you cried. We miss her every day.
Susan loved the Outer Banks and its community dearly. She embodied the saying, “count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years.” We request all of Susan’s loved ones to join us in celebrating her beautiful life at Duck United Methodist Church on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 2 PM. Please contact Susan’s granddaughter, Arabella, at 252-489-3656 with any questions about the service – or just to share a memory or two.