It is with unspeakable anguish and broken hearts that we tell of our sister, Suzanne Loureiro Ferreira’s, passing on May 19.
She was the most precious and beloved daughter of the late Maria do Carmo Loureiro and Francisco Ferreira. She was the adored sister and the youngest of 14 children. She was the light of our lives and the love of our hearts. Pure, innocent, and pious, she lit up a room as soon as she walked into it. Her giant, sparkling blue eyes captured your heart the second you looked into them. She had a giant heart and loved unconditionally.
Suzanne graduated from the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in 1987. She followed her older deaf brothers and sisters, George, Jack, Elizabeth, and Rachel who graced the school with their presence for 31 years – all of them amazing athletes. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She put herself through school, working two jobs each summer, and graduating on time with honors and no debt. It was our Mother’s proudest moment.
After graduating from Gallaudet, she soon returned to the R.I. School for the Deaf as a teacher and was there for most of her career. She was profoundly deaf from birth, but it never stopped her from going after and fulfilling her dreams.
Suzanne was an accomplished athlete, fiercely competitive, and a shining example of fairness and sportsmanship. She taught many of our dear nieces and nephews how to play various sports. She was a role model for the children. When the Ferreira clan gathered in our mother’s backyard, the competition began with Suzanne leading the way. There was no brother or nephew that could outplay or outlast her. She remained standing – always with her incredibly beautiful smile. She was a New England Sports fan rooting for all her favorite teams. She was an incredibly loyal and faithful fan of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. Win or lose, she would tell us – “Keep the faith.” When the whole family gathered in our mother’s tiny living room to watch the games, there was not an inch of floor space open. Suzanne would relish every second of every game surrounded by her giant family.
Suzanne was a pious and holy soul. When at Mass, we would look over and see her kneeling with her head bent and hands folded praying. She would bless herself with the Bible. She kept images of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus around her. She surrounded herself with holiness to remind herself of our loving God.
Suzanne was the light of our mother’s life. When Suzanne was around, life was perfect for our mother. Suzanne would walk into the room where our mother was, and our mother would look up and smile. No daughter was ever loved more than Suzanne. We know that our mother came to show her the way in this passing, as she showed her the way in life. She was there, grabbing hold of her precious daughter, never to let go again.
She leaves behind 12 grieving brothers and sisters and their families: John (d.) (Elaine), Christine, Cezar (Mary), Joe (Reenie), George, Rosemary (Tom (d.), Tony (Mary), Jack (Jacki), Elizabeth, Ricky, Violet (Victor), Rachel, and Laura. She leaves many special nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and great-great-nieces and nephews. She leaves many beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.
She leaves behind her beloved school, RISD, her beloved students, the entire RISD faculty and colleagues, her deaf community of friends, and her director, Nancy Maguire Heath, who supported her in so many ways and loved her and us. We are grateful for Jim Cooney and especially the late John Carty for their endless support to Suzanne. We thank them all for surrounding Suzanne with their love and support.
She was predeceased by her parents, Francisco and Maria do Carmo Loureiro Ferreira, her oldest brother, John, and her brother-in-law, Tom. She was predeceased by her special aunt, Tia Conceicao, who shared her deafness and with her maternal grandmother who adored her and with whom she made special relationships when visiting them in Portugal.
Suzanne, beloved of our souls, we will never let go. You leave a gaping hole in our hearts, never to be healed or filled until we wrap our arms around you in heaven.
Suzanne, life will never be the same, but we gain our courage from you, our strength from you, and we will keep walking holding each other up until we reach you in Heaven. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate of Mary, and Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, be at Suzanne’s side, we pray.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to Suzanne's Life Celebration to be held with visiting hours on Friday, May 26, 2023, from 4 to 8 p.m., and continue on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at 10 a.m., in the J. J. Duffy Funeral Home, 757 Mendon Road, Route 122, Cumberland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. in Our Lady of Fatima Church, Cumberland. Burial will follow in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Cumberland.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Friends of the R.I. School for the Deaf, 1 Corliss Park, Providence, RI 02908.
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