The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001046714-01
Funeral Notices

SUZANNE CARROLL THIESSEN 1935-2017 Suzanne Carroll Thiessen, 82, passed away peacefully on October 4. She was a 50-year resident of Hawaii. Beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Suzanne is remembered as industrious, artistic, stylish, witty, energetic, and politically-engaged. Born to Arthur and Eunice Reasoner in Muncie, Indiana on June 5, 1935, she was the third of four children. She was raised in Flint, Michigan, with brothers Vaughn, Jack; and Timothy. Suzanne graduated June 1953, from Central High School in Flint. She competed on the girl’s track, softball and basketball teams. She was a musician who sang and played piano. As a college freshman, she attended the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Sophomore year, Suzanne transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. There, she majored in art and joined the Alpha Phi sorority. While on a blind date, she met the love of her life, Wayne Thiessen, a Californian, who was in Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and Naval R.O.T.C. After Wayne graduated in 1955, they married and began a union of 60 wonderful, adventurous years together. They moved to Virginia where Ensign Thiessen was posted to the Norfolk Naval Base. When Wayne was discharged from the U.S. Navy four years later, they relocated with their toddler daughters Michelle and Kimberlee to nearby Williamsburg. During the 1960s, while Suzanne was a fulltime homemaker, the family grew with three more children: Bradford, Douglas and Tamara. On weekends, Suzanne helped manage the family art shop, Gallerie Internationale, selling paintings, jewelry, and fine gifts in historic Colonial Williamsburg. She also attended classes at William & Mary College to continue her undergraduate education. Then, she got involved in politics when Wayne ran for U.S. Congress. In late 1967, Hawaii beckoned as Wayne was offered a position with a naval contractor in Pearl Harbor. The Thiessens moved to Hawaii Kai. Suzanne raised their sun & surf-kissed children while helping at Koko Head Elementary School and campaigning with Wayne when he ran for the U.S. Senate. The following year, baby Patricia was welcomed into the family. In 1970, the Thiessens moved to Saipan, in Micronesia where Wayne was appointed as the Chief of Transportation. The family spent the next ten years between Saipan, Guam, and a home-base in Honolulu. Suzanne helped found a kindergarten in Saipan and began an extensive seashell collection. Later, when Wayne launched Transoceanic Navigation Company – a shipping service serving Hawaii and Micronesia – she worked with him in the office. In 1982, Wayne became the harbor master in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Suzanne spent some years in the kingdom, and then back to Honolulu and work for Maui Divers selling jewelry. After the Middle East, Suzanne and Wayne moved to Washington, D.C. where she finished a government relations certificate program at George Washington University. She worked as a senior program coordinator for the Close-Up Foundation – her favorite job of a lifetime – where she assisted senior groups who visited the U.S. Capitol. During the sunset years of their careers, Suzanne and Wayne managed several hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area. Afterwards, they retired permanently in Honolulu. For 40 years, Suzanne volunteered at the Holy Nativity Church Thrift Store in Aina Haina. In later years, the store became the center of her social life. Suzanne is pre-deceased by her parents, brothers and husband. She is survived by six children: Michelle Aschwald (Howard) of San Rafael, CA; Kimberlee Miller (Richard) of Honolulu; Bradford Thiessen (Becky) of Honolulu; Douglas Thiessen (Pauline) of Irvine, CA; Tamara Brown (Christopher) of Fresno, CA. and Patricia Halvorsen (Kit) of Honolulu. She is also survived by 19 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. Suzanne is interred with her husband at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The memorial service was private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Episcopal Relief & Development. Info: