Mary Suzanne (Sue) Groshong

October 23, 1923-August 17, 2023

While updating her advance directive with her children in 12/22, Sue announced “I want terramation”. We said “What’s that”? and found our way to Recompose. She died at age 99, in West Seattle, two months shy of her 100th birthday.

Sue was a true, fiercely independent-spirit Pacific Northwest pioneer. By turns shy, reserved, private, playful, determined, strong-willed, stubborn, and exceptionally self-reliant, she never ceased to surprise.

Both of Sue’s parents, Lionel Paget and Constance Hancock Paget, were born in Somerset, England, although they didn’t meet until they both lived in Seaside, Oregon. They married in 1921, and Sue was born there, joining her half-sister, Sylvia (b. 1918).

She attended schools in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Grant High School. She was attending nursing school at the University of Washington when the war started, and she left to volunteer for the Women’s Army Corps. Sue met the love of her life, James Willard Groshong (d. 2010), known as Jim to all who loved him, when they were both stationed at Wright Field in Ohio. Jim, raised in Corvallis, Oregon, was a fine jazz musician and a writer. They married in 1945 in Portland. Following their discharge, Jim completed his bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Stanford University and then received his PhD there. Sue and Jim returned to Corvallis where Jim joined the faculty of Oregon State University. In short order, they had three children, Geoff (Laura), Victoria, known as Tory, and Matthew (Kathleen).

Sue devoted herself to raising her children and finishing her bachelor’s degree. She eventually worked in administration for the OSU Art Department. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters since 1951 and a founding member of the Unitarian Fellowship in Corvallis.

Sue always wanted to return to the Oregon coast. When Jim retired in 1980, they moved to a historic home (originally a general store and post office) near Waldport, Oregon, on Alsea Bay called Bayview.  She loved gardening, science and Oregon history and geography.

Sue was appointed to the Port of Alsea (Waldport) Commissioners in 1999, was elected in 2005 and 2009, and served until 2013, at one time being the oldest elected official in the state of Oregon.

In addition to Sue’s children and their spouses, Sue is survived by her three grandchildren, Joe (Kate), Jake (Christie), and Ryan (Rachel) and four great-grandchildren (Parker, Margaret, Charlotte, and Alice). All of them loved visiting Sue and Jim at Bayview where Sue lived independently with daily support from Tory, until November of 2022.

In November, 2022, Sue agreed to move with Matthew and Kathleen to their home in Puget Ridge Cohousing in West Seattle where she lived the rest of her life, with grace and wonderful attention from them, finding new interests and friends at cohousing. Special thanks to Dr. Charles Butler, Swedish-West Seattle; Margaret Jackson, Swedish Providence hospice nurse, along with Teddy Yohanes, Esther and chaplain Gigi; aides Kiki and Anahita, and cohousing neighbors Danny Geiger, Charlotte Pfeiffer and Michele Kruger for their excellent friendship and care.Sue will be missed by everyone who knew her. Donations in her honor can be made to the MidCoast Watersheds Council in Newport, Oregon. May her memory be a blessing.

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About Recompose

Recompose is a licensed, full-service, green funeral home in Seattle offering human composting. As the first human composting company in the world, we are a trusted leader in ecological death care. We are Seattle’s only human composting provider and serve clients across the U.S.

Recompose Seattle
4 S. Idaho St, Seattle, WA 98134
Open by appointment


Voted Best Funeral Home in Seattle Times’ Best in the PNW Contest 2023



Land Acknowledgement
Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe. Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.