In memoriam: Sue Brockway

Many in the hunger community are already aware of the passing last week of our colleague and dear friend, Sue Brockway.  While her death was no surprise, it leaves those who knew Sue with a deep sense of loss.  To those who received the news directly from me last week, I’ll apologize for using the same words here, but I hope they summarize Sue’s life and work here at Tyson for those who might not have known her.

In my life, I’ve never known anyone who fought so hard to live—not simply remain alive, but truly enjoy the days she had on earth.  Five years ago, Sue was diagnosed with her second round of cancer, and a local oncologist, known for buoying his patients with sometimes unrealistic optimism, told her, “I think we can get you three years…”   Sue outlived his most optimistic estimate by two years, enduring weekly chemo until a few weeks ago, and missing very little work until just short of a year ago.

Sue began her career at Tyson in our Joslin, Illinois plant, near her hometown of Davenport, Iowa, where she developed a deep respect for the people who make it possible for us to stay in business: the Team Members on the line and the managers who keep the plants running.  When she came to work in our corporate headquarters, she brought that respect, and always strived to maintain the trust and confidence of the people in Tyson communities around the country.

Sue was passionate about life.  When she came to Tyson ten years ago, she immediately became enthusiastically involved in hunger relief, eventually becoming the company’s most ardent advocate for the cause.  She played a defining role in helping us engage our own Team Members in hunger relief, establishing Tyson as an organization that didn’t just write the check, but was authentically engaged.  Her legacy in this area will remain, as this issue has become a part of our corporate culture.

Sue was fiercely dedicated to principles, and held fast to her beliefs, sometimes with a stubborn streak that made her hard to put up with (I now say that with a smile).   When she set her mind to doing something, you’d best not be standing in her path.

Sue leaves an enormous group of friends and family, from all over the country.   We’ll miss her laughter, her enthusiasm and her energy.  We’ll miss her determined passion.  But her indomitable spirit will remain, to inspire us to live every single day to its fullest, and love those around us.

If you wish to honor Sue’s memory, there’s nothing you could do that would please her more than making a donation in her name to your favorite hunger relief organization.


10 Replies to “In memoriam: Sue Brockway”

  1. Rhonda Sanders

    Sue will be missed by all! She was a true advocate for those who were hungry in our state and around the world. I am proud to have worked with her.

  2. Tony Ruthey

    What a terrible terrible loss to humanity a person with an addiction to help the hungry and needy,hope somebody can get on the move and follow her example. She will be missed by many many people. Fly with the angels Susan because you are one.

  3. Kori Reed, Vice President, Cause Foundation at ConAgra Foods

    Ed, Thank you for sharing your personal connection to a great person and hunger champion! I am honored to have had the opportunity to meet, learn from and be inspired by Sue’s passion for this cause. Those of us who unite behind the hunger cause, know and appreciate Tyson’s role and Sue’s legacy that will live on to make a difference for others.

    Prayers and blessings.

  4. Todd Williams

    My name is Todd Williams, Sue was like a sister to me. Had knew Sue for 54 years. I could count on Sue for a kind word. Sue and I spoke of God in the later part of her life and we laughed and we cried togather. My life was much better with Sue in it.

  5. Joyce Godwin Grubbs

    In this century we have already lost so many who are “heroes” and “sheroes” and they are not being replace with enough speed, nor with as many in numbers. Truly we have lost another champion for the hungry and one who served her calling with passion. I am so sorry for her friends and family whose pain can only be lessened when you recall her great achievement and realize it lives on in those many people she served. God bless her and her memory.

  6. Amy kosar

    Ed, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry to hear of Sue’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with her through Student Food Drive. Sue truly had a passion for ending hunger like no one else. She will be missed by many but will certainly live on in spirit as we continue in our fight to end hunger.

  7. Marilyn Blackledge

    I had the pleasure of meeting Sue and she was indeed passionate about hunger relief. A great loss to Tyson, her friends, and everyone whose life she touched in some way, known and unknown.

  8. Barbara Southwell

    I hope when my own time comes, that I will be remembered this way! I share Sue’s fierce fight against hunger by working with my own Mid South Food Bank! I wish I had known Sue and could have “picked her brain” on how to engage a community in fighting hunger, especially among children! She must have been someone very special!

  9. Patti Craig

    Ed, you and the Tyson family have my sincere condolences.

    Patti Craig
    Omaha, NE

  10. Susan Sanford, Past President Mid-South Food Bank

    I am grieved to learn of Sue’s death. In my time at our food bank, Sue was not only a compassionate hunger-fighter but a personal friend. She was sweet, fun and joyful. Her sense of humor was the best and she never failed to make me laugh. I loved to receive her long letters and keep up with her. I will truly miss her. Those of you at Tyson, keep up the fight and continue to be thankful for knowing Sue. My deepest condolences.

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