Susie was born in Buffalo, NY, as Suzanne McLean Irwin on Sept. 8, 1933, to Dorothy McLean Irwin and Dr. Robert James Armstrong Irwin, Jr.
She was predeceased by her husband, James Clifford McWilliams; her parents; and brothers, Robert J. A. Irwin (III), and William C. Irwin.
Susie is survived by her sister, Virginia Irwin Jenks (Airell), and children Douglas Irwin Garver, Robin Garver Cort (Stephen Cort), Theodore Meyer Garver (Caroline L Stuart), John Irwin Garver (Jacquie Smith), Benjamin Geiger Garver, stepchildren Buck, Tim (deceased) and Peggy McWilliams as well as grandchildren, Rachel, Becky, Benjamin, Samantha, Preston, Maxwell and Noah. Susie has 13 great-grandchildren.
Susie grew up in Buffalo, New York, where she attended and graduated from Buffalo Seminary (1951) before attending Colby Junior College. Susie studied art at the Albright Art School in Buffalo, the Cleveland Institute of Arts and as an enameling student of Thelma Winter and William C. Grauer, both of Cleveland, Ohio. Susie was married to Theodore M. Garver of Buffalo, NY between 1953 and 1976 (23 years) during which she gave birth to and lovingly raised five children named above. During her years of motherhood and raising a family Susie continued to develop her interests in art (painting, enamel) as well as sewing, gardening, sports (skiing, jogging, walking), and home and furniture remodeling. During this time Susie volunteered her time as an artist and crafts teacher at the Juvenile Detention Home in Cleveland, the Highland View Hospital (long term care), and the Margaret Wagner House (seniors).
Susie married James C. McWilliams on Aug. 2, 1980 to begin a marriage that lasted 35 years until Jim’s death (Aug. 12, 2015). Susie and Jim enjoyed life in Cleveland Heights and Chagrin Falls, Ohio, while spending winters in their winter residence in Sarasota, Florida. During this time Susie was active in the arts community and she creatively expressed herself with her painting and other crafts interests including quilt-making, beading and jewelry making. She painted in watercolor, acrylic, oil, egg tempera as well as drawing in pencil and charcoal. She also enjoyed reading fiction. Susie volunteered at the Windsor Hospital and as a Stephen Ministry at the Federated Church in Chagrin Falls.
Susie will be remembered as a compassionate and creative mother and friend.
Susie’s life revolved around art, her children and family, her friends, nature, church and her compassionate contributions to the community. Susie’s volunteer contributions highlight her belief in the light and redeeming power of the human spirit among all people including those with old age, infirmities, poverty or legal problems. Susie cultivated numerous friendship circles throughout the different stages of her life, although in her later years she was not able to maintain her friendships as she had in the past. As a mother and grandmother, Susie has provided love, comfort, wisdom and direction to her children and grandchildren while giving them an appreciation for art, nature, and compassion for other people. Susie chose to share her sense of beauty through her art and crafts. As an artist the simple beauty of nature was most often the inspiration for Susie’s art with landscapes, floral, and water scenes as favorite subjects. Susie’s many art works and crafts remain, with her heart and vision, with family and friends.
Per her wishes, she will be cremated and a service celebrating her life is being planned for a future date to be determined.
Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements.
Please send online condolences by visiting www.WallaceandWallaceFH.com