School 04

Susan Quaid Ayres Weyburn

September 25, 1944 ~ July 21, 2021 (age 76)


Su­san Quaid Ayres Wey­burn — mother, sis­ter, grand­mother, cousin, aunt, friend, teacher — died from pan­cre­atic can­cer on July 21 at home in Tar­ry­town.

Dot­ing mother to David and Jen­nifer and ador­ing grand­mother of Aedan, Louise, Vera, and Will, she also deeply loved her sib­lings, Mimi, Frank, and Chris, and their fam­i­lies. Su­san’s niece once called her the fam­i­ly’s “proper mommy” be­cause she al­ways had sun­screen, band-aids, travel games, and a de­tailed plan of ac­tion on hand.

The River­towns were Su­san’s home for nearly half a cen­tury: first Dobbs Ferry, then Irv­ing­ton, and, af­ter seven years in At­lanta, fi­nally Tar­ry­town. She was a con­sum­mate ed­u­ca­tor who nur­tured hun­dreds of stu­dents over her long ca­reer. Su­san taught for many years as a learn­ing spe­cial­ist at Springhurst El­e­men­tary School in Dobbs Ferry. Af­ter re­tire­ment she con­tin­ued to work with stu­dents at Field­ston and Wind­ward. Her fi­nal as­sign­ment was tu­tor­ing her grand­son Aedan dur­ing the pan­demic.

Su­san was born in Wa­ter­bury, CT, in 1944 to the Rev. Fran­cis Oliver Ayres and Flo­rence Watts Ayres. When she was five, the fam­ily moved to Brighton, MI, where her fa­ther co-founded and di­rected Parish­field, a pro­gres­sive “cen­ter of re­newal for the Church.” She at­tended board­ing school at North­field in Mass­a­chu­setts and col­lege at Goucher in Mary­land. She earned two mas­ter’s de­grees at Co­lum­bia Teach­ers Col­lege.

Early in her ca­reer Su­san was struck by the strug­gles some of her stu­dents ex­pe­ri­enced try­ing to mas­ter the ba­sics. Work­ing to help them over­come their chal­lenges, she re­al­ized that she her­self had coped with dyslexia. She re­turned to Teach­ers Col­lege to be­come a learn­ing spe­cial­ist, fo­cus­ing the rest of her ca­reer on teach­ing young stu­dents with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy skills to use through the rest of their lives.

Su­san loved ad­ven­ture, of­ten­times trav­el­ing to visit fam­ily across Amer­ica, Eu­rope, and Asia. A vol­un­teer trip to build a school in Ghana in the 1960’s was par­tic­u­larly im­pact­ful. Wher­ever she was, she en­joyed all forms of cul­ture and his­tory, whether per­for­mances, mu­se­ums, ar­chi­tec­ture, or food.

Su­san was a life-long ad­vo­cate for civil rights: she at­tended the March on Wash­ing­ton in 1963, joined the League of Women Vot­ers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, marched on Wash­ing­ton again in 2004 to protest vi­o­lence against women, mo­bi­lized vot­ers to reg­is­ter in At­lanta in 2008, and par­tic­i­pated in so­cial jus­tice ef­forts led by South Pres­by­ter­ian Church and Com­ing to the Table. An avid re­searcher of her fam­i­ly’s his­tory, Su­san had re­cently been reck­on­ing with the legacy of slav­ery.

Su­san spent her last days vis­it­ing and cor­re­spond­ing with her lov­ing chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, her sis­ter, brother, sis­ter-in-law, niece, mul­ti­ple cousins, col­lege room­mate, for­mer hus­band, and count­less other friends and fam­ily. Un­til the end, she found real joy in keep­ing in touch and cre­at­ing com­mu­nity.

A ser­vice cel­e­brat­ing Su­san’s life is planned for Oc­to­ber 9 at 11:00 at South Church in Dobbs Ferry. Do­na­tions in re­mem­brance of Su­san can be made to the New-York His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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