Susan M. Perona
Susan Margaret Evers Perona (Muma)
June 26, 1939-February 7, 2020
Sue Perona (nee Evers) was born in San Francisco, CA. to her proud parents Maizie and Calmar Evers. She was the first of three children and is survived by her sister, Sandra Brisbee (Bob), her brother, Roger Evers (Marie) and a host of nieces and nephews. Sue grew up in San Mateo, California and attended San Mateo High School, where she played softball, loved cheerleading and acting. She was Homecoming runner-up and loved the Mills Brothers, Julie London and show tunes. Sue shared a room with her sister Sandi ,who was five years younger, and she played her music on the Hi-Fi driving sister Sandi crazy! Sue was accepted into San Jose State where she studied drama and acted in a variety of performances. She was a Delta Gamma Moonlight Girl and snuck out of the sorority house to go into San Francisco with the Smothers Brothers where she met Phyllis Diller. After starring as Eve in “All About Eve,” Sue went to a cast party where she performed the Dance of the Seven Veils with Charmin toilet paper! Mace Perona, attending that party, fell head over heels for her and the rest is history. On a blustery, snowy night, they welcomed their daughter, Severn Marcel Perona. Their love story blossomed and spanned over 54 years.
In 1968, on their way to Guadelupe, Sue picked up the Santa Barbara News Press while at a rest stop in Santa Barbara. On the back page in bold letters she read “TEACHERS WANTED.” She became a Goleta Elementary School teacher by the next day. Sue adapted and produced a fifth grade show every year, each was exquisite in its depth and creativity. Her shows were professional and well rehearsed. She used dramatic embellishments such as TEA Parties and Readers Theater to bring academics alive for children. Sue was a highly sought after teacher throughout the state of California. She modeled how to enchant students; with wide eyes and a sparkling smile she would whisper to a child, “You got the muse today!”
Sue actively wrote grants to bring art and artists into the school district, incorporating the use of the arts to teach reading, writing, science and mathematics. She was on the board of the Children’s Creative Project, which brought artists into county schools and initiated the I Madonnari Italian chalk festival held every year on the Mission steps, as a fundraiser for CCP. Sue was a SCWRIP and Literature Fellow with Mace and presented to educators here and abroad. She was a Master teacher for UCSB student teachers bringing drama into the classroom as a teaching strategy throughout the curriculum. Sue spent a month in Malta as a teacher consultant of the National Writing Project from UC Berkeley and worked with the Malta Department of Education. The last night in Malta, she and her colleague were honored as “the midwives to their selves as writers.” Her relationships with colleagues, parents and students were exemplary, her enthusiasm for teaching was infectious. Mrs. P., or Super Ona as the children used to call her, was magical!
Along the way, Sue met a group of like minded writers and artists, forming the Forever Solstice Sisters. Together they celebrated the Solstices and Equinoxes: life and nature through art and poetry. At their gatherings, Sue’s spirit was stronger and more bubbly than any champagne.
In her free time, Sue loved running and hiking the Figeroa Mountains and walking the beaches. She was a champion chef and was published in Sunset Magazine for her oatmeal cookies. She loved Julia Child. Sue was an avid gardener and Grandma extraordinaire. She celebrated the birth of each of her three grandsons, Dante, Dario and Damian and showered them with original poems, picture books, art and love. Those were her boys!
Sue was diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease in 2016 but in the end it was a rare disease, Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), which took her quickly. Sue died February 7th in Villanova, PA. surrounded by her family. She will be greatly missed.