US Navy

Ms Susan A. McCumber

November 16, 1935 ~ July 4, 2022 (age 86)


On 4 July 2022, Navy Captain Susan Anne McCumber departed for her final change of station where it is certain she will be warmly welcomed aboard.
Born on November 16, 1935 in Troy, New York, she was the daughter of Kenneth McCumber and Florence Church. She is predeceased by her brothers, Noel, Barry, Daniel and sister Christy and survived by her sister, Kathleen Armstrong (John) of Wilmington, NC as well as several nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews and great great nephews.
Sue grew up in Berlin, NY graduating from Berlin Central School and then entering Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in Troy, NY where she earned her Nursing Diploma. She then worked as a nurse in central New York in a number of clinical areas, including an active ophthalmology practice.
In February, 1966 she made a life-changing decision to become a commissioned officer in the U.S Navy Nurse Corps. Following her initial indoctrination into Navy Nursing at Oakland Naval Hospital in California, she served aboard the USS Sanctuary, one of two hospital ships deployed in support of the US military operations in the Vietnam War.
Her distinguished naval career took her to many other parts of the world including, Subic Bay, Philippines; Bremerton, Washington; Okinawa, Japan; and Great Lakes, Illinois. She was selected by the Navy to attend Seattle University for additional education earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1984. She was the recipient of many awards and decorations and was recognized at her Navy retirement for her “wealth of professional knowledge, concern and dedication to patient care.” She always appreciated her military experiences and the many friends she came to know and took with her into retirement. She frequently spoke of her respect and admiration for the Hospital Corpsmen that supported her nursing efforts.
Sue retired from the Navy after serving 23 years on active duty and relocated to Bristol, Rhode Island where she met another group of wonderful people. She was a 20-year supporter of the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum where she made many lasting friendships.

Sue was an avid reader, bicyclist, and walker. No one was surprised when she took back to the sea and tried kayaking a few years ago. No matter what the activity, she approached it with the innate brand of intensity that was uniquely Sue. Her favorite pastime was visiting with her many friends and neighbors who were the heart of her life in Bristol. Her family remembers her for her many things. Any lefties in the family shared a special bond with Sue and sat at the ends of the table diagonally from her on holidays to avoid elbowing everyone else as they ate. She thoughtfully instructed the younger generation on how to squirt the “mustard pee” into the sink before using the mustard so your bread wouldn't get soggy. She was so generous that some of the kids thought her name was "Aunt Shoe," because she always bought them shoes when she visited. She was not afraid to play anyone in scrabble and actively narrate how she was destroying them as she did it. She was a fierce opponent and a good sport. When Osama Bin Laden was captured by Navy Seals, her comment was, "Go Navy." She had a little side smirk that betrayed the love she had when first meeting new family members or pets and sizing them up whether they were ready or not. She was admired for her straightforward attitude and bright curiosity. She was known to roll up her sleeves and clean out your car, tell your “dirtball” kid to hit the shower, or de clutter your kitchen if necessary. Anyone who attended a family New England boiled dinner, reunion, trip to Disneyland, birthday, or cruise with her knew that the most fun was to be had if you got her to maybe have a smoke and a few drinks. It was a challenge, but well worth it, because Sue had a wry sense of humor that will never be forgotten. She delighted in her family and friends and it showed in the tough love she squeezed into your forearm when she pulled you over to tell you conspiratorially in your ear that you or someone else had better straighten up and act right. Who will keep us all in line now? That is what friends and family will be wondering every fourth of July when they send up fireworks in her honor.

Farewell Captain McCumber. Well Done. We wish you fair winds and following seas.
Private burial will be in Wilmington NC. A memorial service for Captain Susan A McCumber is being planned for friends and family in Bristol, RI. The date and time will follow.

In lieu of flowers memorial contribuations may be made to the Potter League for Animals, 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown, RI 02842 or online at or to Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, 101 Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809 or online at

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Potter League for Animals
87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown RI 02842

Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum
101 Ferry Road, Bristol RI 02809

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