This webpage is a celebration of the life of Dr. Sue-Je Gage. Here, we hope that those who were fortunate enough to have known her can share in their memories, thoughts, stories, and expressions of condolence. This page lets you leave a tribute message, but there are many other ways to share by using the Life, Gallery, and Stories, tabs. Please fill this site with your memories of Sue-Je.

Sue-Je was an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Ithaca College, and was an invaluable part of the academic community whose approach to her work was deeply rooted in a commitment to our shared humanity. She was one of the warmest, most thoughtful, and conscientious professors and individuals that any of us has known. Those fortunate to have had the pleasure of participating in her classes or working with her in any other capacity are aware that she dedicated so much of herself to her students. Her door was always open and she cared very deeply about them and their success.

Sue-Je also cared deeply about her colleagues within her department and the greater Ithaca College community. She was kind, thoughtful, and funny, and always offered a helping hand when needed. She was a valued friend and colleague that will be sincerely missed. In addition to teaching in the Department of Anthropology, Sue-Je served as Faculty Advocate and was an affiliated faculty member in the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity and in the Women’s and Gender Studies program. Her research focused on identity and race, and more specifically on belonging and citizenship and the dimensions of state power in defining its citizenry. As the first ever Faculty Advocate at Ithaca College, she embodied all that the College had intended with the creation of the position; she was an approachable and neutral listener, an insightful counselor and diligent fact-finder for faculty members, and offered thoughtful guidance to chairs, deans, and the provost in addressing individual and collective faculty concerns.  

We hope that this site provides an opportunity for those of you that knew Sue-Je, in whatever capacity, to share in your thoughts and expressions of condolence, but also to celebrate and remember Sue-Je’s life. Please feel free to share images, stories, videos, or anything else that makes you think of the wonderful person that Sue-Je was and the incredible life that she lived. We know that as her colleagues and students, we will find therapy here, and we know that Sue-Je’s daughter, sister, and mother will appreciate seeing how many people she touched through her kindness.
Posted by Jason MacDermott on May 21, 2020
Sue-Je was someone who left a lasting impression on my life. She helped you evaluate your way of thinking in order to help you better yourself as a person, in conjuction with better understanding the unfamiliar. Her lessons, and kindness, will be forever missed. My thoughts will be with her, her family, and all the people she brought joy to during her time with us. 
Posted by Ava Bryan on May 20, 2020
Sue Je we love you forever!
Posted by Felicia Madimenos on May 19, 2020
I had the privilege of working with Sue Je when I taught at Ithaca a number of years back. I would look towards her for advice, comfort, and just to shoot the breeze - she was such a beautiful soul and she looked after me during my time at Ithaca. She always insisted that I "remember balance" - she gave me a tiny wooden bird that keeps balances on its beak - it still sits atop my office computer to this day. I always think of her when I see that little bird. I don't see this world working without people like Sue-Je in it. I miss you dearly, sweet friend.
Posted by Nahyon Lee on May 18, 2020
I met Sue-Je five years ago when we moved to Ithaca for one year. She was so welcoming, warm, and thoughtful. I remember having her over for a Korean bbq party, and she brought bags of Korean panchans. We stayed up all night just talking and hanging out. She was one of the most giving, caring, and understanding people I've ever met. She was also a very good listener, and someone you felt like would always understand you. After moving back to Boston, I loved catching up with Sue-Je once a year whenever we went back to Ithaca. She will be missed. We need more people like Sue-Je in this world. She was one of a kind.
Posted by Mat Alano-Martin on May 16, 2020
When Sue and I first met we were just two college kids in love figuring out how to navigate the world together. Over the next 10 years we finished our undergrad degrees, got married, got jobs, moved to Bloomington so she could go to grad school, bought our first home, lived abroad in Korea and made lifelong friends. By the end we were no longer kids, but adults who realized that they probably shouldn't be married anymore.

Divorces are hard, even the amicable ones like we had. We didn't talk for a few years after that, but eventually we became friends again. Text messages every now and then checking in. Phone calls of support when we needed it. I was in Ithaca for work in 2017 and we met for lunch, where I got to meet her beautiful daughter Sara. We caught up, we laughed. It was a good day. The thing that struck me that day, was that even after all these years, and all the ups and downs that came with it, she remained a warm and open hearted person. Tempered from the years, but a hope and belief in the inherent good in most people still shining through. Just as when we first met she was above all else, kind.

Sue and I talked quite a bit over the last year as she was dealing with her brother Kim's medical issues and I was dealing with my mom's. After Kim died we talked on the phone for a long time. She talked, I listened. I'm glad I could be there for her that day. I hope it helped. The last time we talked was just a few days ago when she texted a video of a waterfall she found during a hike. Just a little bit of beauty and serenity she wanted to share with me and my mom.

Sue was my friend and I'm going to miss her. She had an amazing smile and a great laugh and I'm so sad that I won't get to see her at least one more time to say goodbye, and to let her know how much she meant to so many people. We all lose sight of that sometimes and I hope that someone reminds you how much you mean to them today, and I hope you do the same for others. The world is a less kind place without Sue-Je Gage in it. All we can do now is do our best to fill that void. To keep our hearts open in a world that makes that difficult. To be as kind as we can be. To smile, to laugh, to be there for others. For Sue.
Posted by Sarah Quick on May 16, 2020
I don't remember the exact moment I met Sue-Jue during my grad school days, but I feel like I should because she has that kind of effect. She lived up the street from me for much of my time in Bloomington, and then towards the end of my stay there when I realized I still needed one more course for my minor and had given up my rented house, she and Matt opened up their home to me for those last couple months before fieldwork (they had one room to spare). She saved me from so much stress and anxiety, and I got to eat her great cooking!
I have many good memories with her during that time as well as later when we organized a panel together, saw each other at conferences. She once told me when I commented on how easy it was for me to tear up that that was made me who I was, implying that it as a strength of mine. That's what she did; she connected with people deeply and made them see what they may have seen as faults as strengths. I will miss her.    
Posted by Emily Johnson on May 16, 2020
I first met Sue-Je in 2011 when I helped her edit some articles about ethnically mixed Asians with American paternity, a subject at the heart of her research. As we worked together over the next couple of years, our author/editor relationship turned into a warm friendship. I came to know Sue-Je as a devoted teacher, an ardent scholar, and a loving mother to her daughter Sarah. Her passion for learning, her kindness, her humility, her sense of humor, and her radiant smile will remain forever in my memory.
Posted by Asma Barlas on May 16, 2020
Precious, beloved, warm, kind, loving, full of life, Sue-Je! We are heartbroken.
Posted by Jill Pfenning on May 14, 2020
We are deeply saddened at the passing of Dr. Sue-Je Gage. Sue-Je was a close friend of Me & Korea and a strong advocate for Korean adoptees. We will miss her greatly.

We first met Sue-Je when she was a distinguished guest speaker at Me & Korea’s Koreans and Camptowns Conference in September 2015 in Berkeley, California, co-sponsored by Me & Korea and the Center for Korean Studies at University of California, Berkeley. Sue-Je’s talk was titled “My Korea, My America: Korean Amerasians and the Everyday Politics of Belonging,” and looked at Amerasians in Korea from a very personal perspective through her own story as a mixed-race Korean-American. Sue-Je also participated in the mixed-race Korean panel at the same event. In 2017, Sue-Je joined us for much of the Mosaic Hapa Tour we conducted that spring, offering her insight and friendship to mixed-race adoptee tour members. In September 2018, Sue-Je served as the Moderator for our second conference, Koreans and Camptowns: Adoption and Camptown Connections, which was co-sponsored and hosted by the Center for Asian Cities at Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea. She also attended the opening of Omma Poom in Paju, Korea, the first of its kind tribute to Korean adoptees worldwide. Sue-Je had served as an advisor to committees organized to provide input and feedback to the City of Paju about the design of the park. Her contributions to Me & Korea were countless and valued.

Sue-Je brought a unique warmth, compassion, kindness, and insight into all her interactions with adoptees and other friends of Me & Korea. She had a way of connecting in a profound way with both those who she shared a common history with and those who she did not, even upon just a casual conversation. For those of us who were lucky enough to know her longer, the love with which she approached the world will not be forgotten. We will miss Sue-Je greatly and are forever changed by having known her.

Me & Korea
Minyoung Kim
Jill Pfenning
Kyutaeg Oh
Mary O’Donnell
Stephen Hill
Posted by Yang Zhan on May 14, 2020
Sue-Je touched my life with her warm and generous spirit. We were colleagues when I taught in the anthropology department at Ithaca College from 2016-2017. I often stopped by her office to chat because she made me feel so welcomed. She cared for her students deeply. When the students made progress, she was the happiest teacher in the world. She listened when I shared my struggles with her. She was always supportive when I needed her help. We kept in touch after I left Ithaca. We almost managed to get together again in 2018. Now the missed chance turned into deep regrets in my heart. I am still in disbelief about the fact that she is gone. My deepest condolences to her family.
Posted by Paula Merkle on May 13, 2020
I was lucky enough to be a student of Sue-Je, and she was an inspiration to everyone she taught. Her door was always open, whether or not you were one of her students.
When I graduated, she gifted me a little photo book, and I proceeded to fill it with all my favorite memories of college, friends and family. It was a way of keeping the people who mattered close to me, even when we were miles apart.
Every time I came to her for help, or guidance, she was always willing to listen and to give. The last time we talked, I had been telling her about my application to graduate school, and why I had decided to go back in the first place. She proceeded to email me: "It's wonderful to realize our passions and what we really want in life. I am delighted that your passion has always been to help people". But that is what Sue-Je has given me, it was her love and kindness that really showed me what it is to be good, and to help others.
Posted by Julie Koch on May 13, 2020
I met Sue-Je at the HERS Leadership Institute for women in higher education at Bryn Mawr in July 2019. I felt immediately connected to her because she was also a single mom and talked about her daughter a lot :) - It was so clear how much she loved her! My daughters are a little older, but we enjoyed sharing our stories about navigating the world of academia with kiddos at home.

My favorite memory is one afternoon, we went for a walk with our friend Li Miao. Bryn Mawr is a pretty hilly campus, and I could hardly walk and keep up with them because we were laughing so hard (something having to do with Outlander and how ridiculous it was and how much we loved it anyway...)

I am so happy to have known Sue-Je, even for a short time, because she had a lovely and fun and kind energy that she shared with people around her. She also had a serious side and I could sense the passion she had for her work and for her students. I will miss her deeply.
Posted by Rachel Wagner on May 13, 2020
My most vivid memory of Sue-Je is last spring, almost exactly a year ago, as we waited under the tent for recent grads to come greet us. We talked about her recent selection as faculty advocate. Based on my own concerns at the time, she suggested working with me to develop a statement for faculty to add to syllabi about mental health, and she listened with care and genuine interest as I talked about wanting to make our campus more welcoming to students newly diagnosed with serious mental illness and accompanying medical crisis. She was eagerly awaiting the arrival of several students who were particularly special to her, and I saw her engage with family after family, warmly doling out praise for the students. Another vivid memory is of the deep love she held for her brother, and how she was constantly looking for new ways to care for him from a distance. She will be missed. Rarely has one person touched so many people so deeply.
Posted by Alyson Pasquale on May 13, 2020
Sue-Je was in my search committee when I was interviewing at IC for a full time position. I was so nervous and her presence put me at ease. She was a brilliant, kind soul who had a welcoming spirit. She will be deeply missed. Regards to her family and friends.
Posted by ES Maniego on May 13, 2020
I was briefly introduced to Sue-je since 2006 when she visited a place called Shalom House, a Christian Service Center, in South Korea. I met her daughter Sarah, who was a baby at the time. Sue-je had some sort of academic mission which I don’t remember. I do remember the pleasant, jovial interaction with her. Sue-je did not remember our interaction. Fortunately, my wife Joy was good friends with her through teaching at the Amerasian Christian Academy. I saw Sue-je again when she visited us in Fayetteville, NC in 2010 and stayed for Thanksgiving. I got to know first-hand Sue-je’s true character in the way she interacted with our baby son, Timmy, and the gifts she gave. Thanksgiving meal preparation was almost done by her. When I insisted for her to sit, she replied, “I need to be doing something.” Her visit made us feel like guests in our own home. The second time we met her was when she visited us in the summer of 2019 in Aberdeen, MD. That was when I learned about what a charette is from her, which inspired me to watch the movie “The Best of Enemies.” I also enjoyed history talks with her regarding the natives of the Finger Lakes region during the American Revolutionary, places around the world, war on terrorism, hobbies and stories of struggles people endure. She was a captivating storyteller and a wealth of knowledge. Of course, her mere presence was a gift to us. She loved my wife and my wife loved her—as sisters. The last time I would see her was when we visited her in Ithaca. We were happy to make it despite the cold snap and lake effect snow that went through. We got to spend time with Sue-je at the Little Orchard stand at the Farmer’s Market during Veteran’s Day weekend. That trip was one of the most memorable Fall moments we had, hanging out with her in the cold as she sold apple products for friends. We sipped on warm cider and munched on apple cider donuts and learned about what to do around Ithaca from her as our local guide. “Ithaca is gorges” as it says on the t-shirt, she gave Timmy. Ithaca is less gorgeous now that this wonderful Soul has departed. She is united now with her brother, Kim, who served in the Army. Those two served this world well and gave it all they had. They lived the way God intended for all of us, live to love. We love you very much, Sue-je. Sit and rest. We will see you again.
Posted by Frances Harrison on May 13, 2020
It was just a few short months that I knew Sue-Je, so not very well at all, but from those few months spent and moments exchanged this past year at IC, I knew she was a person who made the world a more beautiful place while she was in it. She seemed to just radiate with an immeasurable kindness and joy, and I felt very welcomed and appreciated in her presence. I know from interviewing with her for a job that she believed in my work and was very sincere and encouraging during that entire process, which as a first for me should have been scary, but because of her warmth it wasn’t - and I am more confident to face future career challenges because of her. But I think Sue-Je’s warmth and compassion reminds me of finding joy and self-realization in the small things (and the big things!) in life outside of academia - a value I hold very dear but that sometimes becomes blurry under the stresses of “intellectual” performance. I remember seeing Sue-Je at Apple Fest helping out to make cider donuts just because she thought it would be fun. And I remember feeling intimidated going to a department meeting once, and she just walked over to me and pointed out the birds on my dress, and was telling me about how she also likes to watch the birds in her garden or at the bird feeder, and I felt safe again, simply because there wasn’t anything to worry or feel silly about: she was - welcoming - and I know she was the same empathetic and genuine person with everyone else she crossed paths with. l appreciate that Sue-Je was an academic at the same time as she was also an activist, a mother, a sister, and a colleague that felt more like a friend than a stranger or a superior. She is inspiration for being a good anthropologist but also just a better human being living in this world that we do. I think she is what empathy, and kindness and compassion for human life is all about and she is a life to live by.
Posted by Marilyn Dispensa on May 12, 2020
I first me Sue-je around 2013 because she was a regular in the "faculty lab" at Ithaca College, which was right next to my office. We became close friends both in and out of work.  We went to the dog park many times with Sarah and their new dog, Ruby. I helped her move twice. We shared life's trials and tribulations.  Many times, there would be a little bag with a card left in my office just as a thank you or for no reason at all.  I was honored she came to my wedding in 2018. She was brilliant and I loved hearing about her research and professional activities.  There are so many people we interact with but not as many that you can really connect with and call a friend. She was one of those. She had a gift for friendship. I only wish there was more time. I miss her voice and so saddened by this loss. Much love to Sarah, her cute, smart daughter and rest of her family, friends and colleagues.
Posted by Amy Beigel on May 12, 2020
Dear Sarah,
We are so sad to hear the news. We wish we could give you a big hug. Your mom’s spirit shines so bright. I miss you and we are holding you in our hearts.
Love, Caroline Beigel & family
Posted by Serina Gage on May 12, 2020
My mother and I are gracious for each of you sharing Sue’s stories of her life with you. Like our friend, Paul, told us at our recent brother’s celebration of life in Sept.., it’s not the day your were born or the day your spirit departed from your body, it’s the days in between that make your life.. thank you for lovingly telling us how she spent many of those beautiful days in between with each of you. Hoping to visit soon Ithaca soon when Sue wouldn’t mind us mingling safely to celebrate her life. Until then, your kind words and photos will sustain us as we find our way to grieve for such an angel on this earth. Your words are strength and inspiration. Sending virtual hugs and a shoulder to cry on..will be in touch.
Serina, Myong, Sarah, Richard, Yaz, Mena, Rico, James....and family
Posted by Pearl Ponce on May 12, 2020
When I think of Sue-Je, I most remember her ready smile. She was one of the friendliest, kindest, most open people in our community. When she asked how you were, she truly wanted to know and would give you the gift of time and close attention. This is a wrenching loss and my heart goes out to her students, colleagues, friends and, especially, her family.
Posted by Karen Swartwood on May 12, 2020
I am so sadden by the loss of Sue-Je I worked as a custodian on the Anthropology and Art History floor where I meant Sue-Je she wanted me to talk at a couple of her classes and she would not take no for a answer and I am so glad I did. We had many talks about everything and anything and became friends.My heart goes out to Sarah she is a sweet young lady.
                    Sue-Je I am going to miss you
                  May you rest in peace my friend.
Posted by MaryAnn Taylor on May 12, 2020
I am still in shock at the loss of such a dear, sweet friend. Sue-Je was one of those rare people who come along in your life only if you are lucky. She was always a constant source of encouragement to me. 
She lived humbly surrounded by her family and friends but her greatness was in her love for everyone around her. So today I mourn the loss of a great friend, and I also thank God for the gift that Sue-Je was in my life. Because of her, I am more compassionate, more loving and a far better person than I would have been without knowing her. I thank God for the lives she touched and the memories I have of her. 
May we all be reminded of the frailty of life.
I will miss you, Sue-Je. Until we meet again, my friend – all of my love. 
Posted by Paula Turkon on May 12, 2020
Sue-Je you leave a legacy of love, generosity, and social connections that will be greatly missed. Do you remember when, a couple years ago, you and Sarah sent me a surprise packet of marigold seeds harvested from your own plants? I forgot to tell you that I sprinkled them around my potted plants, thinking they wouldn't grow. But grow they did--and they produced enough seeds themselves that I started paying it forward by giving away seeds to others. Now the marigolds self-seed, and all summer long they provide beautiful color and protection to the plants they surround---the same kind of beauty and support you offered to all those you loved. Your legacy lives on in those flowers.
Posted by Maria DiFrancesco on May 12, 2020
I don't want to suggest that I was as close to Sue-Je as many of my colleagues. I was not. However, we arrived in Ithaca at about the same time, and we often worked in similar circles and committees. Sue-Je never passed me in the hallway without at least saying hello or stopping to have a short conversation. She readily offered hugs. She literally extended her hand to me. She once made me a beautifully crafted, handmade card with a memorable and heartfelt note. This was during a particularly rough period I was having at IC. At the time, it seemed like no one else had noticed or cared. If you ask me who I think about when I think about the ideals for which IC stands, I think about Sue-Je. She was honest, fair, non-judgmental, infinitely compassionate and always authentic. When I read that she had passed, I was shocked and saddened. I was also incredibly angry. I admit I was angry because losing her is a great loss. It's a great loss that extends far beyond IC or even the city of Ithaca. Sue-Je made a real difference in the world. I just wish I had known that she would be leaving us so soon. I wish I could tell her what she meant to us, or at least what she meant to me as a colleague.
Posted by Isabelle Provencher on May 12, 2020
Sue-je was my anthropology professor this entire year, and she came to be one of my favorite professors of my college career. She was always so kind and welcoming from the day I first walked into her classroom up until our last zoom meeting. I never doubted that she really wanted me to succeed and would go above and beyond to help me. I was lucky enough to learn from her and work closely with her in her Ethnographic Field methods class this semester and Global Mixed Race last semester. She was always thinking of others, always having snacks to share, checking in when I seemed down, and letting each and every one of us know how much she valued us. I really looked up to her as a teacher, friend, and person, and I always will. My heart goes out to her family, especially her daughter. She was an incredible person, and I will never forget her.
Posted by Randi Millman-Brown on May 12, 2020
My office was next to Sue-Je's. We would often chat when we saw each other's office lights on - or going to the copy machine - or if Sarah was visiting and grabbing a few slide pins. I will forever miss her warm smile, her ability to listen even while struggling with her own concerns. Rest in peace my friend.
Posted by Jennifer Germann on May 12, 2020
Since her arrival at Ithaca College, Sue-Je has been a valued friend and colleague on the first floor of Gannett. She was kind, empathetic, and thoughtful and she took the time to get know people, to offer a smile, and to share her warmth. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
Posted by Alexandra Novak Foster on May 12, 2020
I was lucky enough to have Sue as a professor for multiple classes at Ithaca College. I did what so many students do when they discover their favorite professor, I signed up for whatever she taught. Every anthropology class I took with her set me on a path to learning truths about humanity and the world. I ended up minoring in Anthropology. When I took her class about the anthropology of the US military, so many of my own implicit biases were shattered. Sue-Je was the first educator to show me what implicit bias even was, and inspired my care and love for humanity. Sue was posting about marginalized groups up until this week. She put everyone’s struggles before her own. I got to know her sweet daughter Sarah in college as I babysat for her a few times. Please pray for Sarah. We kept in touch for a while, but I wish I kept it up. Life is precious, I will never forget you Sue-Je.
Posted by Raffaele Nicoletta on May 12, 2020
Professor Sue-Je Gage inspired many of us to collaborate with one another and share our knowledge in order to build a stronger, more connected community. As a student, I really appreciated her warm and welcoming approach to offering guidance on projects. She was truly a kind soul who always had a bright smile to share with us.
Posted by Michelle Nair on May 12, 2020
Sue-Je was a dear friend who I got to know soon after she moved to Ithaca. Over the years she remained the authentic, genuine, warm & caring person I knew! Heaven has gained an ANGEL! Will miss you Sue-Je but am sure will find a part of you in Sarah who we will cherish & love dearly
Posted by Patti Capaldi on May 12, 2020
I only met Sue-Je last February for the first time. Upon meeting her and entering her office, I felt a lightness and compassion that emanated from her. As we talked, she made me a cup of tea and continued to listen—listen deeply and exchanged a care and concern and selflessness rare in the academic community. The warmth and kindness that I felt in her office continues to resonate for me, as I reflect on this sad and disturbing news. She was indeed a remarkable soul. My deepest sympathy to her family and her little daughter.
Posted by Grace Thomas on May 12, 2020
Sue-Je was so much more to me than my advisor, she was a dear friend. I first met Sue-Ge my my first semester at the barn where her daughter Sarah and I rode at. She was an amazing mother and always told me how proud she was of her daughter. Anyone who was lucky enough to have met her knows she was one of the most thoughtful, caring, intelligent, funny, and compassionate person in our lives. Every Tuesday morning we would sit on the couch in her office drinking coffee, eating snacks, and talking about life. She helped me identify what I was most passionate about and was devoted to working with me to accomplish my dreams. She was the reason I fell in love with anthropology. Our conversations would go on for hours, she always devoted all of her attention, compassion, and time regardless of her busy schedule. I will always remember during a particularly dark period in my life she told me that the time we have in life is so short, so it should be everyone’s goal in life to make time for ourselves, surround ourselves with loved ones, and to pursue life passions that are wholeheartedly fulfilling. May she rest in peace with her brothers who she loved dearly. My deepest condolences go out to her family and everyone who had the privilege of knowing her. Not a day will go by without missing her.
Posted by Brooke Maybee on May 11, 2020
Sue-Je was an amazing, thought-provoking professor. Her classes were the reason I decided to go into anthropology from the exploratory program and she will always be the reason that I keep moving forward. I will always remember the day she brought moon pies and goodies back from her field work overseas. She was such a loving, thoughtful person and will never be forgotten❤
Posted by Griffin Taylor on May 11, 2020
I took two classes from Dr. Sue-Je Gage my freshman year, and her kindness and impressive knowledge of the world made me love anthropology. I was lucky enough to be in a small seminar class with her, interacting closely and getting to know her well. She set an unmatched example of how to be a teacher, a citizen, and a human being. May more of us emulate her.
Posted by Christina Yuu on May 11, 2020
Dr. Sue-Je Gage was my Anthropology professor my Freshman year and remained one of my favorite professors throughout college. Dr. Sue-Je Gage helped me better understand and appreciate my American Chinese culture and for that, I am forever grateful. She made me love both my cultures and proud to celebrate both. She helped me identify who I am through her passionate and open-ended lectures. I encouraged my friends to take her class because of how much I enjoyed having class with her. I wish I was able to tell her how much I appreciated her and the knowledge that she gave me. May she rest in peace surrounded by so much love.
Posted by Tom Garrison on May 11, 2020
The quote at the top of this page is one that Sue-Je liked from the Dalai Lama, and I think it really sums up how she approached her life and career. I will miss her popping in to ask how I was doing, or leaving me little bags of Sour Patch Kids in my mailbox. She was always thinking of others, and our community is lesser without her.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Jason MacDermott on May 21, 2020
Sue-Je was someone who left a lasting impression on my life. She helped you evaluate your way of thinking in order to help you better yourself as a person, in conjuction with better understanding the unfamiliar. Her lessons, and kindness, will be forever missed. My thoughts will be with her, her family, and all the people she brought joy to during her time with us. 
Posted by Ava Bryan on May 20, 2020
Sue Je we love you forever!
Posted by Felicia Madimenos on May 19, 2020
I had the privilege of working with Sue Je when I taught at Ithaca a number of years back. I would look towards her for advice, comfort, and just to shoot the breeze - she was such a beautiful soul and she looked after me during my time at Ithaca. She always insisted that I "remember balance" - she gave me a tiny wooden bird that keeps balances on its beak - it still sits atop my office computer to this day. I always think of her when I see that little bird. I don't see this world working without people like Sue-Je in it. I miss you dearly, sweet friend.
Recent stories

Some remembrances

Shared by Michael Smith on May 16, 2020
I first met Sue-Je at the Turkon's Channumas party, not long after she began teaching at IC. Our first conversation mostly revolved around our mutual affection for Bloomington, Indiana, and Indiana University, where we had both gone to graduate school--I can't remember if we ever determined whether we overlapped.  Her smile, the twinkle in her eye, her ability to carry on a conversation with someone she barely knew but leave them feeling like they were an old friend--these are characteristics I cherished in Sue-Je as a friend and colleague.  It was clear on many, many occasions how these gifts translated into the teaching and learning environment.

And Sue-Je took those gifts beyond campus.  A dear friend of mine at Longview took a class with her there last summer and in our weekly get togethers never failed to comment on how much he appreciated her spirit as she guided him and the other residents on an intellectual exploration of difference.

The other place I will forever associate with Sue-Je is the Littletree stand at the Farmer's Market.  I always made my way to that stall at the far end in anticipation of getting an uplifting dose of that smile and that twinkle in her eyes, no matter how cold and miserable it was.  I will try to carry that light she brought to the world with me now, and serve her memory by sharing it with others.  I will miss you.
Shared by Kathleen Costello on May 13, 2020
I lived up the street from Sue-Je for a while in Bloomington, IN. Usually, having her as a neighbor was just fun. We'd have Sunday dinner once in a while and hang out for coffee and work at our local coffee place. Our street was peaceful, the houses small. They had what a visiting friend from Europe called in wonderment American Small Town Movie Front Porches.

But, the story I want to share is about a more sad and serious experience. It's one that exemplifies, for me, Sue-Je's beautiful and deeply compassionate spirit. 

One evening when Sue was home, a young person who had just gotten their permit license went joy-driving from the next town over into B-town. While on our street, they hit a motorcyclist coming up the opposite way. One of the neighbors called 911. While waiting for the EMTs to arrive, Sue-Je went out into the road and sat with the victim. She stayed there until the ambulance arrived.  Unfortunately, the motorcycle driver didn't survive the collision. I think Sue mentioned realizing that even before the ambulance came. 

We talked about how that was. She talked about how hard and important it felt to wait, knowing the news wasn't going to be good at the end. I said at the time, as terrible as it was, I was glad that accident victim had someone there to be with them.

Sue was very many things. She was persistent. She was insightful and smart. She was very, very funny. But the first thing I noticed when I met her is the most true and precious thing about her, to me. That was her gentle, attentive, kind wholeness.   

I remember thinking, the day we talked about the awful accident, what it might be like to be lying out in the street on a summer's evening, seriously injured. I would be so afraid. Or, maybe I'd be unaware of what was happening around me. I hate to think of the role of comforter being conferred on anyone. But, Sue could and did choose to be that comfort for the accident victim.  Of course she did.

I thought then, were I a stranger out in the street, alone and scared, there could be no greater blessing than to have Sue-Je choose to be there beside me.

I am listening to the memorial service as I type this. The tributes from colleagues and students are celebrating the Sue-Je I know. They are celebrating that, and so much more. I'm so glad to witness in the smallest way your love and admiration for her. I'm thankful she got to be in community with all of you.

You are all strangers to me, of course. We can't be there together now to honor Sue-Je's life. Even so, you can't be total strangers when I can tell she is loved and known and surrounded by all of you in spirit.

Travel in light and love, Sue-Je. 

Thank you, Sue-Je.

Shared by Walter Byongsok Chon on May 13, 2020
I met Sue-Je at the H&S Faculty Forum a few years ago. We set at the same table and ended up having lunch together. We immediately became friends as we connected through our common Korean heritage. I enjoyed seeing Sue-Je at the Ithaca Farmer’s market at the apple cider and donut stand where she volunteered. When I would get several apple donuts, she sometimes gave me an extra one. It was always nice to catch up with her at the farmer’s market. Earlier this year (2020), Sue-Je, as faculty advocate, helped me with a difficult situation on campus. She listened to the challenges I had and offered insightful advice. I last saw Sue-Je on March 7 at the faculty of color writing retreat at the Inn at Taughannock. We had a great conversation over dessert. We caught up with each other and shared news about Korea, which was then suffering greatly from the corona virus. She asked me how I was dealing with the challenges I had earlier in the year and offered her continuous help. Sue-Je was a truly kind, generous, loving, intelligent, and beautiful soul. She always had a welcoming smile, inviting me to pleasant and meaningful conversations. It is hard to imagine the IC campus without her joyful presence. May she be peaceful in heaven. Much love and thanks to her family for sharing her with us.