Susann Farrell, the children’s and family services librarian at the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor for the last 12 years, died of lung cancer last Thursday at the age of 47. She died at her home in Flanders, with her family at her side.
Her colleagues said Ms. Farrell put her heart and soul into her work, enriching the lives of children and parents alike since joining the library in 2005. “Susann’s spirit and joy for her work will make it difficult to replace her,” they wrote.
She had been diagnosed not very long ago and had had to stop work early in April. On a GoFundMe page for her and her family, friends and acquaintances wrote of her kindness and the attention she bestowed on each child. She made sure the books they selected were inclusive of all races and religions, someone recalled. Others said she was the reason their children had become skilled readers. One person remembered her “collection of colorful Converse high-tops.”
She was born Susann Catherine Matteson on Feb. 11, 1970, in Trenton, N.J., to Paul and Cathy Parcels Matteson, who do not survive. She spent most of her childhood in Surf City, N.J., and loved spending time with her grandparents on Long Beach Island, N.J., too.
At the University of Maryland, she was a member of the marching band, playing the saxophone, of which she was very proud. She transferred to Georgian Court University in New Jersey to finish her undergraduate work. After graduation, she taught first grade in the South Jersey area, during which time she met and married James Thomas Farrell. They had been married for 17 years.
They moved to Long Island, where Ms. Farrell attended Long Island University at C.W. Post in Brookville, earning a master’s degree in library science.
Her colleagues said she loved her time with her children, Catherine Alora Farrell, 16, and James Thomas Farrell III, 14. She “worked tirelessly to give them a good life, with her unwavering love and devotion.” The family spent many good days fishing, skiing, reading, and taking pictures. She passed on her love of music, science fiction, ghost hunting, animals, and Dr. Who to her children and the people around her.
Ms. Farrell was the president of SAVES Inc., which captures feral cats and places them for adoption. Memorial donations can be made to the service at SAVES, P.O. Box 1631, Riverhead 11901. The GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/help-sue-farrell-fight-lung-cancer.
In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by a large extended family. Cards of condolence can be sent to the family at 26 Fanning Road, Flanders 11901.
There will be a gathering in memory of Ms. Farrell at the John Jermain Library, 201 Main Street in Sag Harbor, at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19. The family plans a memorial service at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead at noon on July 29. All those who knew her have been invited to attend.