We mourn the loss of our friends, neighbors and relatives who have passed. Our memories of life at the Lake are entertwined with our memories of those who shared their lives with us here.
Susan Marie (Morgiewicz) Giza. Beloved wife, mother, sister, friend, and teacher entered into rest on 24 May 2021, after a very hard-fought battle with a Glioblastoma brain tumor. She was 52.
The youngest of Conrad S. and Barbara G. Morgiewicz’s four children, she was born 27 April 1969, in Middletown, NY. Susan grew up in Pine Island, NY, with a very traditional Polish-American-Roman-Catholic upbringing while spending the summers of her youth working in the black dirt fields of the family onion farm. She was a 1983 graduate of St. Joseph’s Elementary School (Florida, NY), a 1987 graduate of John S. Burke Catholic High School (Goshen, NY), a 1991 graduate of the State University of New York (New Paltz) with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mathematics. In 1996 she earned a Master of Science degree from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). From 1991 to 2000, she taught mathematics in Newburgh, NY. From 2000 until her passing, she was a math teacher and department chair at Monroe-Woodbury High School.
As a young girl, Sue had been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF), and dealt with it throughout her entire life. When a tumor was discovered on her right leg, her parents took her to Lourdes, France, to bathe in the Spring of Miracles. She went through several NF-related surgeries over her lifetime, including three on that same leg, yet remarkably walked with no limp, was able to participate in high school softball and other athletic sports, and refused to let NF limit activities or control her in any way. As an adult, she was featured by the Children’s Tumor Foundation in an article titled “This is NF: Susan Giza” as an inspiration to others dealing with this rare and terrible disease.
In 1984 she met the love of her life, Joseph Giza, and they were inseparable until her passing. Joe and Sue were married on 10 October 1992, at Susan’s beloved St. Stanislaus Church in Pine Island, NY. Shortly after, they bought property and built their home at Yankee Lake, NY. Susan loved everything about Yankee Lake and Wurtsboro, particularly the beauty and serenity of the lake and surrounding area, St. Joseph Church, the tight community of people, and she made many great new, close and lasting friendships.
Susan’s many interests included cooking, bike riding, cross country skiing, and winemaking. She would spend hours at a time in her kayak on Yankee Lake, enjoying the sheer beauty while exploring different areas of the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse of an eagle nest or family of otters that someone would tell her about. She loved animals, especially her dogs Lady, Lacey, and Rosie, who worshiped her and were always by her side. Susan was both an avid Yankees and Jets fan, but also enjoyed professional tennis and college basketball. She enjoyed rock concerts, sporting events, card playing, bonfires, reading books, going to plays, group bike rides, and always a good bottle of wine.
Susan was a member of the Yankee Lake Preservation Association and could often be found flipping burgers at their various events. She was also a member of the Hudson Valley Polonaise Society and very proud of her Polish heritage. Susan had many friends, including teachers and staff from the two schools she worked at during her career, and was very fond of so many of her co-workers. She loved hearing about the successes of former students, cared about them, and spent countless hours putting together tests, grading papers, doing administrative work, and tutoring those in need of extra help. A favorite saying of hers was, “Anyone who says teaching is easy should stop talking and give it a try.” She had amazing dedication to her job and a relentless work ethic. She would regularly put in 10-plus hour days for her teaching job, all while taking care of the home, mothering two daughters, cooking dinner, and somehow making it all look effortless.
She was an amazing person who lived a very active but too-short life. She will be lovingly remembered for her infectious smile, her sense of humor and will be missed by all who knew her.
Susan is survived by her husband Joseph, daughters Jennifer and Heather. She also leaves behind brother Conrad Morgiewicz and sister-in-law Cyndy (Groton, MA), sister Frances O’Hara and brother-in-law KC (Medford, MA), brother Louis Morgiewicz and sister-in-law Joan (New Paltz, NY), brother-in-law John Giza and sister-in-law Leigh (Bristow, VA) and brother-in-law James Giza and sister-in-law Kerry (Sutton, MA). She is also survived by her four Godchildren Colin O’Hara (Salem, NH), Alexandra Petrullo (Ossining, NY), Jessica Stokkeland (Wilmington, DE), and Alexandra Giza (Washington DC), several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Conrad S. and Barbara G. (Poloniak) Morgiewicz, as well as her father- and mother-in-law Barney S. and Nancy C. Giza. Susan had many friends who she loved dearly, but exceptionally close, sister-like bonds, with her cousin Paula Poloniak-Kamarada (New Windsor, NY), Jackie Matuszewski (Florida, NY), Kjell and Cheryl Stokkeland (Chester, NY), and Coleen Andryshak-Petrullo (Ossining, NY).
The family honored her final, selfless wish to donate tissue samples upon her passing to NYU Neurological Research in hope that one day people diagnosed with this horrific disease may have a chance. Joe, Jennifer, and Heather would like to thank all family and friends who reached out and provided support during Susan’s battle. Your kindness was very much appreciated, and it will never be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (www.ctf.org) who are dedicated to finding a cure for NF, an organization near and dear to Susan’s heart.
A funeral Mass of Christian Burial was offered on Saturday, 5 June 2021, at The Church of St. Joseph (180 Sullivan Street; Wurtsboro, NY) with the Reverend Peter J. Madori officiating. Private interment took place at St. Stanislaus Church Cemetery on 7 June 2021.
The Yankee Lake web site does not collect or use any personal information.