Susan A. Ackerman
Jan. 27, 1959 – Aug. 26, 2020
It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our beloved wife, mom and sister Sue “Susie” Ann Ackerman to her eternal home with her Lord Jesus Christ. She passed on Aug. 26, 2020, at 61 years of age after a 20-year battle for her health, with her husband and children at her side.
Sue was born in Montreal, Canada, on Jan. 27, 1959, as the last of four children in the tight-knit Battah family. She grew up in Joliette with fond memories of summers with her family by the lake and winters twisting maple syrup candy in the snow. She played for the field hockey team and posted the sit-up contest school record. In total awe of the Apollo moon landing, she aspired to be an astronaut. She moved to New York City at 22 to pursue a degree in fashion, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1982 and starting her dream career as a women’s clothing designer in the city. While attending the newly formed Redeemer Presbyterian Church, she met her one-and-only, husband Russ Ackerman, or as they affectionately called each other “Pumpee,” marrying in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 5, 1990. They spent the first three years of newlywed life abroad in Duesseldorf, Germany, where Sue designed for Steilmann Group, enjoying trips to Paris, London and Hong Kong and showing her collections in several fashion shows.
Upon their return to New York, Sue continued to design for clients such as Talbots. Sue went on to take the role she most cherished, that of being devoted mom “Meem” to two beautiful children, Adriana and Alexander. They were the loves of her life. She shepherded the family during moves to Boston and then three glorious years in London and the English countryside before returning to the States and raising them in Wilton, Connecticut, since 2001.
Her 4’11” stature was no match for her spunky and sparkling personality. She will be remembered for her tenacious fight, strong willed disposition, witty one-liners, pride in her Canadian roots and deep love for her family. Sue had an eye for making all things beautiful with her understated, elegant style. She used her high artistic taste to start the Wiltonia Home Collection of beautiful accessories. She poured her heart into designing the home she shared with Russ, which served as a showcase for all the art and antiques they collected together as they lived and traveled the world.
Her long, sustained fight to return to health was an inspiration to us all. Few, if any, can say they know anyone who fought harder than Sue did. Her struggle began in 1999 with a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, the treatment for which lead to Pulmonary Fibrosis. In 2008, Sue received a double lung transplant, a gift which enabled her to live 12 more years and help guide her children into adulthood. Last year, she was diagnosed with cancer caused by the transplant drugs, and she spent several months in the hospital fighting for - and winning - remission. Despite this victory, she faced constant infection and landed in a fight for her life in the ICU, intubated and with little hope. However, she continuously defied doctors’ negative prognoses with God’s provision, giving many doctors a once-in-a-career miracle comeback story.
At home the past year, we are comforted that the last few months of her life were spent quarantining with her adult children and husband in their Wilton home, reminding her of the early days she treasured so much. Sue’s journey was fraught with continuous disappointments and setbacks, but her faith never once wavered and she refused to give up the fight through to the very end. She lived by the quote she always posted opposite her hospital bed: “Fear not. For I am with you. Trust in me. For I shall never forsake you.”
She is preceded in death by her two parents, Norman and Agnes Battah, of Joliette, Canada, lost when Sue was age 11 and 16. She is survived by her spouse, Russ Ackerman, of Wilton, Connecticut; her two children, Adriana Ackerman and Alexander Ackerman, of New York City; her siblings, Kenny Battah and Vivian Battah of Joliette, Canada, Carole Everett, of London, England, and godfather and honorary godmother Edwin and June Battah of Montreal, Canada.
Services celebrating her life will be Sept. 12 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City as well as on livestream. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sue’s name to the Columbia Medical Center Lung Transplant Program, honoring the gift of life that Sue was given.