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  • Writer's pictureDoug Neckers

In Loving Memory: Suzanne Evans Neckers

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Suzanne Evans Neckers, an accomplished mother, singer, teacher, and friend who traveled the world and helped many others, died at her home in Perrysburg at 82 after a long illness.

Her husband, columnist Douglas Neckers, distinguished professor emeritus and founder of the Center for Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green State University, said, “Sue has been my soulmate since we were 18 years old. She was bright, friendly, energetic, and a quiet force in my life.” The couple, who have lived in the Toledo area since 1974, would have celebrated their 61th wedding anniversary on June 18, 2021.

The former Suzanne Evans was born on Aug. 26, 1938 and grew up in the small town of Bemus Point in western New York State on Chautauqua Lake some way from the town of Clymer, where Doug lived. They were introduced by a friend of Doug’s, who knew they had common interests, including music, and “my courting days were over,” Mr. Neckers said.

Both soon transferred to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where Sue majored in history and became a teacher, and Doug majored in chemistry. They married immediately after graduation, and moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where Sue taught English and history while Doug earned a PhD in chemistry.

Their next stop was Boston where Sue worked a variety of administrative jobs while Doug did post-doctoral work at Harvard University.

They returned to Michigan where Doug became a chemistry professor at Hope College, and where they welcomed the arrival of their children. Following that, Sue became an avid golfer during Doug’s time at the University of New Mexico.

After Doug took two teaching stints in the Netherlands, they moved to BGSU, where Doug became the chemistry department chairman in 1974. During those years, Sue developed a reputation as an exceptional cook and gracious hostess, and particularly enjoyed the “International Pot-Lucks” she threw for Doug’s research group and graduate students.

Sue’s love of history and art led her to become a docent of the Toledo Museum of Art in 1990. In addition to guiding tours, she was able to travel frequently with the docents on trips in the U.S. and abroad.

The Neckers were part of musical organizations from the start. They sang together in local church choirs wherever they lived, including those at Collingwood Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal in Toledo. In the 1990s, they joined a group led by Jim Metzler that became The Canterbury Singers of Toledo. For more than twenty years, the Singers served in residence in many of the great churches and cathedrals in England, including Norwich, Liverpool, Oxford, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s in London. The Singers’ last residency was at St. George’s Chapel Windsor. In later years, Sue and her husband joined St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Perrysburg, and created the St. Tim’s Discovers Series, which went on to sponsor regular programs for a decade before the pandemic.

Besides her husband, Suzanne Neckers is survived by her daughter, Pamela Neckers, of Columbus; her son Dr. Andrew Neckers, also of Columbus; his wife Courtney (Werner) Neckers; and by granddaughters, Elise and Isabel; her brother Dr. John O. Evans of Canandaigua, NY; her sister in law, Patsie Evans; and her aunt 97 year old Joyce Atkinson. She was preceded in death by her father, Richard O. Evans; her mother, Edith Has-kin Evans; and her brother, David B. Evans.

Her family gratefully thanks those who made it possible for Sue to remain at home in the final days of her illness. Theresa Gosnell was her devoted friend and caregiver; Colleen Barrett made her evenings calm and secure; and Mary Ellis, Patrice Ellis, and Jessica Campbell kept her active and entertained. The family also want to thank Hospice of Northwest Ohio, their retired president, Judy Seibenick, and the many aides and nurses for all their caring support.

Memorial services will be private due to the pandemic, but will be live streamed from the courtyard at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Perrysburg, with internment to follow in Bemus Point, NY. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Witzler Shank Walker Funeral Home, Perrysburg (419-874-3133). The family suggests that anyone who wishes to honor her memory consider a contribution to the Docents Growth Program at the Toledo Museum of Art, the Suzanne and Douglas Neckers fund at Hope College, or the Albert Neckers, Jr. Endowment at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, NY.

Condolences may be made on line to the family at

Sue's memorial service will be July 1, @ 2:00 EDT. The service will be accessible to the public virtually with this link:

The link for donations to the Jackson Center is here - identified as the Albert Neckers, Jr. endowment.

Donations to the Suzanne and Douglas Neckers Fund at Hope College should be mailed to:

Suzanne and Douglas Neckers Fund

c/o Office of Development, Hope College

Holland, Michigan 49422-9000

Procedures for donations to the Museum can be found online.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

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