On September 21, 2023, Suzanne Parry, of Salt Lake City, quietly departed this life to join her family in the hereafter. With her passing, we have lost a teacher, aunt, sister, friend, craftswoman, artist, and gardener whose presence enriched innumerable lives.
Born February 19, 1951, Suzanne arrived as a last-minute surprise, when her mother, Priscilla Lawson Parry, was 45. As a child, she attended Dilworth Elementary School, where she would later teach. Tall and statuesque, she modeled in high school before attending the University of Utah. At the urging of her older sister, Jean, she became an elementary school teacher. During her 48 years in this profession, she taught at Lowell and Lincoln (now called Liberty) elementaries before returning to Dilworth, where she spent most of her career as a first grade teacher.
At Dilworth, she helped her students write and present original operas on topics the class chose together. In recognition of the appreciation of the arts she sought to inspire among her students, the Salt Lake City School District renamed Dilworth’s auditorium and stage in her honor — to her immense pride. In addition, KSL twice recognized her through its Teacher Feature.
She applied the same creativity and dedication to other pursuits. While staying with her sister Jean in Washington state, she began quilting. She took this craft to great heights, producing everything from whimsical glow-in-the-dark Halloween blankets to quilts with log cabin, starred, and other sophisticated patterns. She added her own touch to these creations and possessed a unique ability to combine fabrics.
Likewise, she learned to spin wool, which she wove into blankets colored with natural dyes. These skills provided a connection with her ancestors, and she put them to use at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Wearing a long-sleeved, full-length cotton dress, she showed visitors how wool was made into yarn, and told them stories of the houses within the park and the people who had once inhabited them. A friend described her as a dichotomy: a pioneer woman with a taste for modern TV shows, including The Voice, The Bachelor, and Dancing with the Stars.
Suzanne also harbored a deep appreciation for the natural world, and she expressed it through gardening. She served as president of the Utah Iris Society and these ornate flowers were a constant presence in her backyard garden, as were others she loved, including wild sunflowers and roses.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Suzanne served as a host for visitors at Temple Square. In addition, over many years, she made the sort of low-key contributions that keep everything running, including bringing food to potlucks and providing financial support for missionaries.
Many of us, most certainly those within her family, will remember Suzanne’s direct manner and dry sense of humor. Lying in bed a few days before her death, she listed the points she wanted covered in this obituary. Then, ending with a smile, she said: “And I was a wonderful person.”
Suzanne was preceded in death by her parents, Priscilla Lawson and David Robert Parry, and sister Priscilla Jean. She is survived by her brother David and his wife Miriam; her nieces Emily, Bobbi, and Wynne; nephews Christopher Smith and Patrick Smith; their families; many friends, and two generations of former students. May she grace the next world with her creativity and intelligence as she has this one.
A visitation will take place on Friday, Sept. 29, from 6 to 8 pm at her LDS ward at 1889 South 1700 East, Salt Lake City, followed by a second visitation starting at 11 am on Saturday, Sept. 30, prior to the funeral at noon at the same location.
Suzanne taught both of our daughters at Dilworth (1987 and 1989). She was absolutely one of the best first grade teachers we ever had the pleasure of knowing. Our thoughts are with her family.