So Long Seattle Sue!
I have known and admired Sue for decades. I first knew of her through the late Alan Jenkins, my long-time friend and mentor who was director for decades of the Orientation Center for the Blind in Albany, Calif. In the late 1970s, he christened Sue “Seattle Sue” (for obvious reasons to all you triple-crown fans out there who may remember the famous “Seattle Slew”).
Those of you who know Sue know she had a mouth on her which could make, as they say, the proverbial sailor blush! Right in there with Alan and friends like me! The jokes that woman knew!
I remember once at an ACB convention when the blind lawyers were still ABLA (American Blind Lawyers Association)! Sue introduced its president Steve Speicher as “president of the Blind Liars!”, a total slip of the tongue (or was it?) which had all of us, including Sue, in stitches.
While I served on the board of publications, Sue attended most meetings with sharp, focused input.
In recent years, at ACB convention, Sue, always the librarian to the end, hosted an event in support of her beloved National Braille Press. She was in a wheelchair by then, but still spirited, game, undaunted! We sat in the corner like teenagers giggling, sharing secrets, commenting on everything, and somewhat cattily gossiping about everyone!
What an advocate! What a role model! What a friend!
Rest in peace, Seattle Sue.
— Judy Wilkinson
I have known Sue Ammeter since I was five years old. We grew up together and shared rides to and from school each day on one of those small buses that drove blind kids to the only resource room in Seattle.
We drifted apart somewhat after Sue went to junior high/high school, and college. We took somewhat different paths in our work with organizations of the blind, Sue being very active and a real star within NFB and I being active in ACB. However, our friendship always prevailed over politics. When I was president of the WCB, Sue always came to our conventions to provide moral support and camaraderie. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me at the time.
From the ‘90s on, Sue and I served together on the ACB board of directors and worked together on many committees, most recently and notably the health issues task force. Sue’s unwavering commitment in the past 10-12 years to supporting breast cancer survivors and promoting the interests of accessibility to health matters is notable and one of her great contributions to the blind community.
We shared a love for legislation and working on Capitol Hill and with our state legislatures. Sue was no stranger to organizing buses to go to the state capital, and spent countless hours each legislative session monitoring and working on key bills in the Washington state legislature. I know that her work in this area will be sorely missed by WCB.
The last time Sue and I talked together was about something to which she was also deeply committed, National Braille Press. MCB was about to host a seminar “because braille matters,” and she and I were talking about how the presentation would go, etc. Sue’s lifelong commitment to braille, even after she could no longer read it due to neuropathy, made her work with NBP a natural. Their publications on breast and prostate cancer, and on women’s and men’s health, are directly due to her advocacy and are a legacy to her tireless work to help all of us who are blind.
Please keep John in your thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks. Sue and John were married 46 years; that’s a long time these days.
Sue will be greatly missed by many people, spanning many activities and commitments. I am still in shock that she is no longer with us. We will just have to remember the spirit since the body is now at peace. I will treasure that spirit and do my best to live up to its ideals.
— Chris Gray
Donna and I just got back yesterday from a weekend vacation when I read about Sue’s passing. Like everyone else here, I am in shock. Sue and I met back in our NFB days, probably in ’73 or ’74, and hit it off because we worked hard and played even harder in those days. Nothing and no one intimidated Sue Ammeter, as demonstrated by her lone vote in opposition to kicking the California affiliate out of the organization in 1978. That ultimately led to Washington’s ouster.
Sue and I both worked in the ADA arena for many years, and we had several conversations discussing issues that had come up in our respective government entities. Our last conversation was probably a month ago, and she sounded alert and feisty as ever. Sue Ammeter was one of the true leaders of our movement, and we will be the poorer for her passing.
— Mitch Pomerantz
I am writing to add my condolences and thoughts about Sue Ammeter. We were not close, but I knew and respected her based on her work on the board and based on what I heard from folks within WCB. More recently, Sue asked my wife Lisa to serve as a member of an advisory board for National Braille Press, an appointment that meant a lot to Lisa because of the personal honor it conveyed. Once I joined the BOP, I came to expect and appreciate Sue’s participation in almost every meeting. She was not a member, but she always had a good word, and as recently as our March meeting, she took a minute to acknowledge and thank us for the transition to digital cartridge. We just had our April meeting last week, and I noticed that Sue was not there. I wondered, and now I know that we will not be hearing her voice and constructive suggestions on any more BOP calls. While this is true, I know we will benefit from the common sense she always brought to every discussion and the humble way she inserted herself into all sorts of issues, never wanting the limelight, but wanting just enough attention to make her point, which was always a good and simple suggestion that would solve a simple and immediate issue. Sue, I am grateful for the small part of you I came to know, and I will always appreciate your gifts of time, talent and quiet service.
— Ron Brooks
I am shocked and deeply saddened by this news. Sue has been a diligent member of the rehabilitation issues task force for quite a while and I always appreciated her no-nonsense, knowledgeable contributions to our work. I always felt that if she gave a positive response to something I/we had done, it meant that it was something to be proud of. Sue’s passing will leave a hole in my life, and her gifts of time and effort to the rehab issues task force will be impossible to replace.
— Doug Powell