Dear PCF Friends and Family,
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of today’s loss of our colleague and friend Suzanne Ruley.
A bright star in our world of philanthropy, Suzanne was kind, giving, and made each person she spoke to feel cared for and needed. On the phone Suzanne would make you feel like she was waiting for your call, wanting to know how she could help you.
If you ever asked Suzanne about sponsorship, you know she was always willing to give and to share. Whether it was offering a place at her Christmas table or buying a table at your gala, Suzanne gave generously and often, anonymously. Her own acts of giving set an example for others. Once she offered a PCF staff member a plane ticket to visit her brother. She also cashed in airline miles to take a staff member to Scotland with her so they could learn together at a conference.
As Director of Development for Pinellas Community Foundation, Suzanne relished meeting new people and learning their interests and motivations. She had hundreds of books in her office, always ready to recommend and lend to anyone in need of information about the world of philanthropy.
Anyone who walked into Suzanne’s office could see she was creative and talented. On the walls hung drawings she did when she was in school working on her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburg. She went on from there to get a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
The stars of Suzanne’s life were her family, husband Matt and children Alyona, and Andre, whom she loved deeply. She took care of all three of them, making sure they had what they needed and had what they liked. Also, a pet lover, Suzanne came into the office with daily stories of her family’s most recent animal antics. At one point, Suzanne stopped by a pet store several times a week to pick up cockroaches for Andre’s iguana. As much as we cared for Suzanne, she couldn’t get a staff member to accompany her on that journey.
Before PCF, Suzanne was passionate about helping people. At RCS, she raised funds for food, the homeless, and survivors of domestic violence. She brought in funds to support the performing arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall and put the arts into action as the Cultural Arts Specialist for the City of Clearwater.
To understand the breadth of Suzanne’s talents and the fun she brought to the world, all you needed to do is hear her operatic voice. It seemed that Suzanne knew the words to every musical and opera, and she was glad to sing with you no matter how off-key you proved to be.
Suzanne, we will keep our hearts and the music on for you.
Please join us in sending the Ruley family prayers for healing and peace. We will keep you updated with information on any memorial or ways to help the family.