Susan P Fernandez

May 19, 1942 - March 12, 2024

Susan P Fernandez

May 19, 1942 - March 12, 2024


Susan Dale Peiffer Fernandez, 81, aka Grandmom and Moms, formerly of Audubon and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, died on Tuesday, March 12, at her home in Litchfield Park, Arizona, of natural causes. A woman who made friends easily and everywhere, Sue was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother who gave generously of her time and resources to help many people in need. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Born May 19, 1942, in Abington, Pennsylvania, to Allen Lee and Evelyn Mae Peiffer (nee Hoover), Sue grew up on a gentleman’s farm in Holland with her older sister, Linda, and a menagerie of animals. After graduating from Council Rock High School, Sue continued the family legacy by following Linda to Ursinus College, where Allen and Evelyn met. At Ursinus, she found the love of her life, Robert C. Fernandez, and the pair became partners in crime for the next 60 years, until Bob passed away in 2022.


Sue spent several years teaching biology, a subject that fascinated her throughout her life, before taking on her greatest role: mother to sons Todd, Jay, and Adam. An eager contributor to her community, she volunteered as a Den Mother and Cub Scout leader and at events for St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Audubon. Sue was a devoted Little League and soccer mom who enthusiastically cheered at every game, and she never hesitated to rush a forgotten saxophone or brown bag lunch to school. She was also the American “mother” to international “sons” and “daughters” from Spain and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, families she stayed connected with until the end of her life.

She was a goofball who greeted department store mannequins with a handshake and waved to strangers while driving down the highway, acts her young boys found both amusing and mortifying. But she was also farm-girl tough, a woman who never backed down from bullies and who once walked face-first into a chin-up bar hard enough to break her nose without dropping the tall stack of laundry she was carrying. In her later years, she embraced her activist side, showing her support for gun control, reproductive rights, and the care of asylum seekers. Her generosity extended to supporting local human rights organizations and a number of nonprofits in Africa.

Like her husband, Sue was a Philadelphia sports fan, packing family lunches for many Sunday Phillies games at Veterans Stadium. An avid tennis player for much of her life, she also loved card and board games—she and Bob had a running game of gin rummy that lasted decades. She never missed an awards show and enjoyed listening to Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, and John Denver, while her adoration for Robert Redford and Paul Newman was legendary. Sue and Bob traveled the world together: They made annual visits to Anguilla BWI, one of their favorite destinations; sailed the Mediterranean aboard the Star Clipper; and journeyed to China, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. In their later years, Sue and Bob divided time between the Poconos and the Phoenix area before ultimately retiring to Arizona full-time in 2014.

Sue is survived by her sons Todd Robert Fernandez (Cathy), Jay Allen Fernandez (Sepideh), and Adam Lee Fernandez (Kate); grandchildren Ethan, Sadie, Huck, Jonah, Evie, Paul, and Bijan; and sister, Linda Manzo.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations should be directed to Project Harambee, which supports sustainable community development projects in Africa, or to the Fernandez-Peiffer-Manzo-Minardi Endowed Scholarship Fund at Ursinus College, which Sue and Bob initially established in memory of his father in 1983. Project Harambee donations may be sent via PayPal on the nonprofit’s website or by mail to: HARAMBEE, 929 W. Foster Ave., Apt 3122, Chicago, IL 60640. Memorial contributions to the scholarship fund should be mailed c/o Ursinus College, Advancement Office, PO Box 1000, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426-1000

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