Susan (Shu-Shan) Shih, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away on January 23, 2024, at the age of 87 in Bolton, Massachusetts. Born on July 30, 1936, in Hong Kong, Susan was the wife of Dr. Wei Shih, and daughter of Mr. Yuan and Mrs. Yu-Ying Wang.
Susan’s life transcended all of life’s boundaries presented to her. As a child, she experienced the hardships of the Second Sino-Japanese War, losing her father and two younger brothers during this difficult period. Unschooled in her early life due to the war, she was undaunted and determined to get a good education. Her perseverance paid off as she successfully went on to receive a bachelor's degree in Chinese Literature from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 1959 and then earned a master's degree in computer science at Bowling Green State University in 1986. In between these twenty-seven years, she became a devoted wife and loving mother, with an unwavering commitment to ensuring her three children were well educated and dressed for blizzard conditions all year round, with bellies full of her delicious home cooked meals.
A constant learner, she was a curator of life, always seeking to learn about new places and cultures, develop new skills and meet new people. She spoke over 4 languages, including English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Fukienese. A talented artist, her oil and watercolor paintings have been displayed at various art shows. A talented seamstress and knitter, she sewed her own clothing in the early years, and more recently, knitted beautiful blankets for her grandchildren. Her manicured gardens in Ohio with petunias, snapdragons, roses and geraniums were enjoyed by neighbors. She loved connecting with her surrounding communities, whether it was living in New York City, Kingston, Rhode Island, Bowling Green and Perrysburg, Ohio or Bolton, MA. Everywhere she lived, Susan’s presence and impact could be felt by those around her. As President of the Toledo Ohio Chinese Sunday School for 9 years, she could channel her love for community and friends, children, language and great dinner parties. Her dinner and mahjong parties were legendary. Everyone loved her dumplings, even the renown Dr. W. Edwards Deming. And in recent years, she shared dumplings, good times, and her love for art and crafts with her Bolton communities, including the Regency knitting group and Bolton Senior Citizen's Art Club.
Her professional career defied the conventional path, set on pause for many years, as motherhood was the most important job to her. Once she was confident her children could feed themselves without setting off the kitchen smoke alarm, she launched herself into the world of computer science having no prior experience or knowledge, studying day and night for two years. And at the age of 50, with a freshly minted M.S. diploma in Computer Science, Susan began a new career as a college instructor, teaching computer science courses at the University of Toledo, Defiance College, and Findlay College, having learned the new languages of BASIC, C, COBOL, Fortran and Pascal. Go DO loops!
Upon retirement, Susan and Wei traded their university office keys for abundantly stamped passports, becoming happy globetrotters, embarking on cruises and guided land tours, visiting dozens of countries across 4 continents. Sometimes, her children would learn about these global expeditions after she returned, perhaps because she didn't want any of them tagging along, expecting her to keep them warm or babysit the grandchildren. Everywhere she went, treasured mementos of the local culture would return with her. Tell her that something was handmade, and immediately her interest would be sparked. The seaside was her happy place, and she was always ready to hop in the car to walk the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine.
Susan radiated a zest for life. She was a force of nature who lived life to its fullest and will be remembered for the many qualities that endeared her to family and friends. Her loving generosity, kindness, culinary prowess, artistic gifts, strength of spirit, sharp tongue and wit drew people to her. Family and friends will forever cherish the happy memories with Susan.
She will be dearly missed by her husband of 62 years, Dr. Wei Shih, by her daughter, two sons and their spouses, Koyin Shih and Stephen McKay of Westford, MA, Milton and Maggie Shih of Westford, MA, and Andrew and Karen Shih of Portland Oregon. Her six grandchildren, MeiLissa, Christine, Justin, Julia, Rachel and Megan, brought her immense joy. And just as she clothed her own 3 children, she made it her second mission in life to ensure that her six grandchildren were also dressed for blizzard conditions year-round with bellies full of their favorite Grandma comfort food, sticky rice.
Susan is preceded in the recent death of her sister, Su-Yu Yuan.
Susan will live on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing and loving her, and her legacy of unconditional love and strength will continue to inspire and uplift those she leaves behind.
Family and friends will gather to remember Susan for a period of visitation on Saturday, February 3, 2024, from 9:00 to 9:30 A.M. at the Badger Funeral Home, 347 King St., Littleton, MA. Her funeral service will follow at 9:30 A.M. Burial at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park in Peabody, Massachusetts.
Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 347 King St., Littleton, MA. 01460, (978)-486-3709, www.badgerfuneral.com.