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Sue Stivers lived to build up and encourage others

By Dylan Gentry, Adair County Extension Agent
for Family & Consumer Sciences

The Adair County Homemakers are saddened by the passing of Sue C. Stivers. Sue served as an Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences for 43 years. Sue is remembered by her homemakers for her loving kindness and outstanding devotion to the Extension Homemakers organization. I have served in her former role for only six months. In that short time, I have heard countless testimonies of her selflessness and dedication.

Sue was personable, remembering the names of all 300+ Adair County Homemakers under her care. Homemakers comment frequently on how quick she was to visit or send a card when times got tough.

She sent several cards each week, constantly thanking, encouraging, and wishing well to all who came through our doors. This led many people to refer to her affectionately as "Mama Sue".

Mama Sue's large heart was reflected in her job. She took great pride in her work, working tirelessly to ensure her community driven programs were benefiting her clients that to her were like her family. Sue took pleasure in developing others into leaders, citizens, parents, seamstresses, cooks, gardeners, and more. Sue was admired for her endless knowledge of home and garden related expertise. Her favorite subject to speak on however, was etiquette.

Sue retired in 2000 from UK Cooperative Extension, the same year I was born. I recall only ever meeting Sue once. In 2016, I was selected as a Rogers Scholar, a prestigious honor. I spent a week at Lindsey Wilson College with some of the brightest youth my age, developing myself into a leader. I met Sue there, she was teaching etiquette to my Rogers Scholars class. I did not know at the time that etiquette was her favorite subject to teach, or even really who she was. However, I do remember her kindness, her smile, and her passion. She was still teaching classes 16 years after she formally retired, that alone tells me she loved what she did.

Today, I can look back on a single picture I have of Sue's class that year at Rogers Scholars. It is of her and my Rogers Scholars class standing in front of President Bill Luckey's house following her class. I think the picture speaks well to Sue's legacy. There are three scholarships in Sue Stivers honor that I am aware of. One at the University of Kentucky that I personally received as a UK student. Another is at Lindsey Wilson College, where she served on the Board. The last is awarded here through Adair County Extension Homemakers in honor of her. Sue lived to build up and encourage other people. I am not so naive to believe I will ever fill her shoes, but I am motivated every day by her outstanding example.

This story was posted on 2022-08-03 15:35:57
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