Susan Shoemaker
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Knowlton Presbyterian Church
3 Knowlton Road
Columbia, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Susan Shoemaker

Susan (née Figler) Shoemaker passed away peacefully after a valiant battle with cancer on Monday, October 28th, 2019.

Born on September 15th, 1953 in Newark, NJ, Susan was the first of four children and only daughter of Michael and Barbara Figler. Raised in Union and Irvington, NJ, she spent much of her childhood sporting tightly-permed hair and chasing around her three mischievous younger brothers. Susan graduated from East Orange General Nursing School in 1974. After her pinning and capping ceremony, she served her community as an emergency room nurse and met John Richard Shoemaker in 1982 at Clara Maass Hospital in Belleville, NJ. Sometime after an infamous kiss in room 6, they were happily married in 1982 and welcomed their first son, John Michael in 1983. John and Susan moved from South Orange to Knowlton Township and daughter Sarah Alyson and son Andrew David followed in the coming years.

Susan always dreamed of pursuing a career in music, and while she relinquished that dream to become a nurse and mother, she remained a musician all her life. Susan inherited her singing talents from her mother and her father, an accomplished accordionist in a polka band, taught her how to play as a child. In her youth, she played the accordion competitively and including earning a state championship title in 1972. She was a soprano in the Knowlton Presbyterian Church Choir, Watergap Singers, and Masterwork Chorus for many years and sang in several performances of Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She made sure to pass along both her talents and appreciation for music to her three children.

Susan was an avid gardener and bird lover, as well as an accomplished sewist, making many a costume and Christmas stocking through the years. She tended a large garden at her home in New Jersey and also in Poulsbo, Washington after relocating there in 2014. Susan took great pride in supporting her children and husband through many pursuits, including Andrew summiting Mt. Washington at age 10, her husband finishing his college degree, years of percussion lessons for John Michael, and accompanying Sarah on road trip to move to California (and back!). She loved to travel with her husband, children, and friends and was fortunate enough to visit both Iceland and Paris in the weeks before her death.

Among her greatest joys in her final days was spending time with her first grandchild, Jane Madeline, who joined the family in December, 2018. Susan knitted many sweaters and hats for her sweet Jane Bird and showered her with love until her final days.

Throughout her life, Susan held an unwavering faith in God, which she shared with those who surrounded her. She was a longtime member of Knowlton Presbyterian Church, and organized Vacation Bible School and a Living Nativity program during her younger years. Among her favorite passages was Philippians 3:20-21 " But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

Susan was predeceased by her parents, Michael and Barbara (née Valent) Figler. She is survived by her loving husband John Richard, son and daughter-in-law John Michael and Elizabeth, daughter and son-in-law Sarah and Benjamin Perramant, son Andrew, granddaughter Jane Madeline Perramant, and brothers Michael David Figler, David Thomas Figler, and Christopher Figler, as well as their spouses, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, November 9th at 11am at Knowlton Presbyterian Church (3 Knowlton Road, Columbia, NJ 07832). Susan requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (

Arrangements are under the direction of Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown, NJ 07825.

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