Suzanne Catherine (Gilbert) Coons, 83, of Normal, formerly of rural Wenona, passed peacefully early in the morning on September 12, 2022. She lived a full life filled with faith, family and love.
Mrs. Coons was born August 31, 1939, in Plainfield, NJ, to Edmund and Helen (Bauer) Gilbert. Suzanne learned a strong work ethic from a tender young age as she and her older brother, David, watched their parents publish three newspapers in Southern Illinois. She was a graduate of Pawnee High School, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign language from Illinois Wesleyan University.
During her junior year at Wesleyan, Suzanne met Ronnie Coons, and in July 1961, they began a 61-year life journey filled with love and family, laughter and tears, travel to distant corners of the globe, and a strong faith in Jesus Christ.
She was a life-long learner, and inspired hundreds of young people to do the same. She returned to school to earn a master's degree from Illinois State University, and then built a thriving foreign language department at Minonk-Dana-Rutland High School, now Fieldcrest High School, where she taught high school Spanish and French for 26 years. Senora Coons was loved by her students, and enjoyed taking student groups to Europe for more than 15 years. She was the recipient of many honors, including the Illinois State Board of Education Award of Excellence.
After retiring from teaching, Suzanne served as the executive director of Illinois Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ICTFL) for several years, helping to build foreign language programs throughout the state. She was a member of Phi Kappa Delta Society International and United Methodist Women, and served on the board for Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana, IL. She was a certified lay speaker, an advocate for missions that helped children and those in need, and led a life of community service in every way possible.
Suzanne loved her large family, and enjoyed staying in touch with friends. She loved to travel; was an avid reader of romance and mystery novels; enjoyed semi-classical and easy listening music; and could often be found on the computer designing or writing something.
She is survived by her husband, Ronnie Coons; her daughter Cathy (Coons Windland) and husband Jerry Agasar; her son Ronald "Chip" and wife Lisa (Cangro-Essary) Coons; grandchildren Jennifer (Windland) and husband Dustin Harris, Bryan and wife Carly Windland, Andrew and wife Michelle Windland, Max Essary, Andrew Agasar, Alexandra Agasar and Michael Agasar; great-granddaughter McKenna Windland; and several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. She is preceded by her parents and brother.
Funeral services will be held at First United Methodist Church, 211 N School St, Normal, IL, on Thursday September 15. Visitation will be from 9 - 11 AM. A Celebration of Life service will take place at 11 AM followed by a luncheon at the church. Interment will be private. The Hurst Funeral Home in Wenona is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Suzanne C. Coons be made to Cunningham Children's Home, 1301 N Cunningham Ave, Urbana, IL 61802 or online at http://www.cunninghamhome.org/ways-give/give-now.
Online condolences may be viewed and remembrances shared at www.hurstfuneralhomes.com.