Virginia Sue Hassler, age 84, always known as Sue, died early in the morning of 9 November from complications to a combination of back surgery and Covid. Formerly of Woodhill Drive in Kent, Sue’s final days were spent in a memory care unit around the corner from her Barlow Road apartment in Hudson, Ohio. She had lived in Kent since 1977 where she taught piano in her home and worked for many years as Musical Director and Organist at Faith Lutheran Church. Immediately prior to that she had done similar work as an outstanding musician in Brownsville, Texas. When her first marriage broke up, she moved North to be with her sister and brother-in-law Nancy and Bob Smith. Bobby was a colleague in the English Department at Kent State with Mack Hassler, who had been widowed the year before, Mack and Sue met and agreed to be married and to blend their families. It was a very successful marriage and a good blending that lasted 45 years.
Sue’s training had been at West Texas A&M State University in Canyon, Texas. She and her sister worked together and both earned a Masters Degree at Kent State in 1982. Sue served on the Board of the KSU Orchestra Society and won many awards for her work in both the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs as well as in the National Federation. She was Chairperson of the Regional Music Festival for OFMC and enlisted her husband as “Gold Cup Chairman” She also worked with her husband as co-editor of a volume of Letters by the early 20th-century writer Arthur Machen published by the Kent State University. She was a remarkable and talented individual with many interests.
Sue was born on 16 July 1938 to Marion “Red” Strong and his wife Frances Banks Strong in Hobart, Oklahoma. In her first marriage, she gave birth to two lovely Daughters who loved their mother very much to the end and tried to follow in her footsteps of service and talent. Shelly Cory Schafer taught music for many years in California and performed in local bands; she moved back to Brady Lake near Kent in 2019. Heather Miller (wife of Bing) lives in Orrville, OH and has taught in the Barberton Schools for over 35 years. With her marriage in Kent, Sue acquired the two sons that Mack needed help in raising and plunged into that task. Donald M Hassler III (with wife Kim) lives in Boulder, Colorado where he works as a solar physicist. David Allen Hassler (with wife Lynn) is Director of the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State.
Preceded in death by her parents and by our beloved sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Bobby, Sue is survived by younger brother, Jimmy Strong (Trisha) of San Antonio, Texas and by younger sister Dorothy Denny (David) of Martinsburg, WV as well as by her husband Mack and numerous nephews and nieces. She also leaves four grandchildren and two West Highland Terrier puppies. All will miss her very much.
Memorial service will be held 4:00 PM Sunday, November 13, 2022, at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, 628 W. Main St. Kent, Ohio 44240 and is bi-denominational, with Pastor George Gaiser of the Lutheran Church, who served many years with Sue when she worked at Faith Church in Kent, as well as with Douglas Denton, Minister of Pastoral Care at the United Methodist Church all or most of the Strongs were raised Methodists. Finally, the family wishes to thank Ken Colpo of Novacare in Stow and Sharon Graham of Brown Street in Akron, who tried in her final months to help her continue living. Obituary photo by Nancy Besonen.
Services in care of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, 628 West Main Street, Kent, OH 44240.