Joanne A. Suomi, 57
Joanne A. Suomi, age 57, of Stevens Point passed away Tuesday, September 2nd 2014 at her home surrounded by family.
Joanne fought a short but courageous battle with cancer. Funeral Services for Joanne will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, September 13th 2014 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Plover. Family and friends will gather to share memories from 9:30am until services at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Joanne was born August 19th, 1957 in Bristol CT, the daughter of Josephine Costabile. Educationally Joanne earned a bachelors’ degree in Physical Education fom Southern Connecticut State University, a masters’ degree in Adapted Physical Education from Western Illinois University and a doctorate in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Joanne was talented multi-athlete, who started and competed on the first girls track team in Bristol East High School in Bristol Connecticut. She also captained the first women’s cross-country team at Southern Connecticut State University in 1975. In the 1980’s Joanne was a nationally ranked powerlifter and continued to be a competitive runner and avid tennis player in her later years..
Joanne worked at the Indiana Institute for Developmental Disabilities at Indiana University as a specialist in training educators to work with children and adults with autism. On January 11th, 1981 Joanne married Rory Suomi in Bristol CT. The couple moved to Stevens Point, in August of 1992. In February of 1993, Joanne and her husband founded the Special Needs Aquatic Program at UWSP where Joanne continued to serve as a trainer and instructor of the adult and childrens’ program for the past 22 years. In addition, Joanne served as an adapted physical education specialist and coach in the Stevens Point Area School District for the past 14 years.
Joanne was considered an expert in aquatic instruction for persons with and without disabilities and worked closely with the American Red Cross. She conducted numerous aquatic instruction training at UWSP, throughout the US and oversees in Sydney, Australia and Guangzhou, China. There will be a classroom dedication at the aquatic center (Suomi Family Aquatic Classroom) at UWSP for Joanne and her husband on September 12th for their efforts in conducting the Special Needs Aquatic Program.
Joanne was extremely proud of her service to the City of Stevens Point in her role as a Portage County Board Member and District 2 alderperson for the past three years.
Joanne was respected by the citizens for her ability to advocate for her constituents and the issues she brought up to the common council.
Joanne is survived by her husband Rory and daughter Samara, one sister Jolynn (Cliff) Michaelson, Valparaiso, IN , one brother Guy Costabile, Atlantic City, NJ and nephews : Derek Michaleson, Erik and Kari Martin. She was preceded in death by her mother, daughter Jolene and brother Al. The Suomi family would like to thank the St. Michael’s Hospice and Aspirus Oncology Departments for all their efforts in treating Joanne. Joanne touched the lives of many individuals in the community and will be deeply missed.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Joanne A. Suomi Memorial Fund at UWSP Foundation, Inc.
2100 Main Street, Suite 134
Stevens Point, WI 54481-3871
This fund will serve two of Joanne’s passions aquatics and women’s sports at UWSP.