MISSOULA — Suzanne Victoria Derrick, 55 of Missoula, passed away peacefully on Saturday Aug. 3, 2019 at St. Patrick Hospital, from complications after heart surgery.
She was born on Oct. 25, 1963 in Bloomington, Indiana to William and Judith Derrick. She attended various schools growing up: Eastwood Elementary School, Salt Lake City, Utah 1968-1970; Carminati Elementary School, Tempe, Arizona 1971; Rattlesnake Grade School, Missoula, 1972-1977, and graduated from Hellgate High School, Missoula in 1981. She was a gifted flute and piccolo musician, was active in many high school bands and marched in the Cotton Bowl Parade. Suzanne began playing with the Missoula City Band at this time and was a member of the Local American Federation of Musicians. Suzanne was an accomplished speaker competing in High School extemporaneous speech. She was active in concert and show choirs as well as singing in the Holy Spirit Parish Choir. Suzanne also participated in Junior Miss, was a member of the National Honors society and Missoula Children’s Theater.
She was accepted to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and attended for several years. Suzanne transferred to the University of Montana. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Zoology. She was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority (AOP). She continued her educational pursuits at the University of Arizona and Regents University. Suzanne graduated with her Registered Nursing Degree and finished her education with credentials in Gerontology from the American Nurses Credentialing Center while residing in Portland and La Grande, Oregon.
While in Oregon she was active with the Civil Air Patrol, taking flight lessons and completing her first single engine solo flight. She was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, Lake Oswego, Oregon. Suzanne participated in their Handbell Choir, Auction, and Angels on Wheels. She traveled to Peru with Health Bridges International Mission, which provides abandoned youth in Peru with education, medical care and housing. She loved her work with these orphans, building a new school and dormitory while providing medical care to the kids.
Suzanne’s professional career spanned several positions all pertaining to the health care field. She was extremely passionate about caring for others, and approached her life with a generosity of spirit and giving. She committed almost 30 years of her life to health care. She enriched the lives of many of her patients and her family, especially her father.
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She began as a local Emergency Medical Technician while going to school in Arizona. She found the grave yard shift exciting and she always regaled her family with the emergencies that she was called on. She loved being out in the field helping and triaging others. She progressed into the emergency room as an ER nurse, while also attending Basic training to become an Army Reserve Nurse. Suzanne recognized the importance of nursing to our elders, and began serving the geriatric community in Portland. She forwent her career to become her father’s primary care giver, ensuring that his multiple conditions were treated in the most caring way possible.
Suzanne loved to travel, which started at an early age, with several trips with the family to Colombia, and then later to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Islands, and Spain. She also was fortunate to be able to travel to the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.
She was an animal lover and adopted her companion “Jazzy”, an Australian Shepard, from the Portland Humane Society Shelter, where she volunteered. Jazzy recently preceded Suzanne in death. Suzanne also was an avid collector of limited edition enamel eggs, enjoyed gardening, fixing and tinkering with small appliances and jewelry crafting.
Suzanne was preceded in death by her mother, Judith Kay Derrick, brother Paul Mitchell Derrick, and her grandparents. She is survived by her father William R. Derrick, Missoula; sister Deborah, (Tod) Gass, Missoula; niece Talla Gass, Fairfax, Virginia; brother William Richard (Deborah) Derrick II, SugarCreek, Ohio; nieces Kiya and Kailey Derrick; niece Kirstie (Brandon) Lopez and great nieces Evie and Theodora Lopez and great nephew Alta Lopez. As well as aunts Nancy (David ) Denslow, Gainesville, Florida and Jane (Allen) Samsel, Gordonsville, Texas.
Please join us in celebrating Suzanne’s life on Monday August 12, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 130 South 6th Street East, Missoula, MT 59801. Donations in Suzanne’s name may be given to the Humane Society of Missoula, MT or Health Bridges International Mission, PO Box 8813 Portland, OR 97207.