A lifelong resident of Pine Hill, Susan Marie Rupp was devoted to her family, friends and community.
Known affectionately, as “Coach Sue” or “Mrs. Rupp” she was actively involved in youth athletics for 39 years and was a beloved teacher’s assistant for over a dozen years.
She also had an unforgettable smile.
“My mother was an amazing, caring and beautiful woman, with the warmest smile, who always inspired the best in others,” said Shawn Rupp, Sue’s oldest son. “Her smile never left her face. It never faded.”
Sue lost her courageous 8-year battle with ovarian cancer in 2010 at the age of 52.
In her memory, her family established the Susan Marie Rupp Foundation to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and advance ovarian cancer care and research.
The Foundation recently made a $25,000 gift to The Cooper Foundation to establish the “Susan Marie Rupp Ovarian Cancer Research Fund” at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
“When we visited MD Anderson Cooper we were just in awe of the whole atmosphere,” said Norman Rupp, Sue’s husband. “We wanted our donation to help women locally and MD Anderson Cooper just impressed us so much.”
Married for 30 years, Norman and Sue had three sons, Shawn, Ryan, and Scott, along with two grandsons, Dylan and Colin.
Both coaches with the Pine Hill Youth Association, Sue and Norman met during Pine Hill’s annual parade celebrating opening day of the baseball and softball season.
“It was a good match for both of us,” Norman said. “Sue loved coaching. Opening day was her second favorite day of the year. Christmas was the first.”
Sue was diagnosed with advanced Stage IV ovarian cancer in June 2002. However, she loved coaching so much that she insisted on handing out the trophies to her players at the end of the season just days before she was to have surgery.
Because there are no early detection tests for ovarian cancer, Sue’s cancer was possibly undiagnosed for years, despite yearly gynecologist visits. After several years of remission, her cancer returned and claimed Sue’s life in July 2010.
Prior to her passing, Sue had the idea to raise awareness about ovarian cancer by placing teal ribbons throughout the community during September – National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Her family carried out her wish and was joined by 150 members of the Pine Hill community that September 2010, when the annual Teal Ribbons of Hope Campaign was born.
Since then, the campaign has spread to communities and organizations throughout the state, including MD Anderson Cooper.
While Sue never wanted praise or recognition, both Shawn and his father said she would be proud of her family for their commitment to fighting ovarian cancer.
“Anything we can do to help anyone in need, I think my mom would like that,” Shawn said.
Norman added: “I’m sure she’s smiling.”
If you are interested in making a gift to help MD Anderson Cooper fight cancer or would like more information about naming opportunities, please contact Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of The Cooper Foundation, at 856.963.6703 or firstname.lastname@example.org.