Suzanne Valencia

Obituary of Suzanne Marie Valencia

Suzanne Marie Valencia, age 88, passed away August 31, 2022, at her West Melbourne home surrounded by her four daughters. Suzanne was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on February 15, 1934, to Henry and Wilhemena Vosbeek, and later moved to Albert Lea, Minnesota, at the age of 16. She lived in Boulder, Colorado, from 1956 to 1958. She then lived on Guam from 1958 to 1970 and moved to Florida in 1970 with her daughters.


Suzanne was a retired registered nurse and graduated from Saint Marys School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1955. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Central Florida in 1988, graduating summa cum laude. She was passionate about her family (especially her great-grandchildren), the environment and conservation, human rights, and campaigning for the Democratic party.


Suzanne was a past or current member of the Florida Nurses Association, the Sierra Club (national and the local Turtle Coast Group), the Florida Native Plant Society (statewide and the local Conradina Chapter), and Space Coast Progressive Alliance. She has held numerous positions on the boards of both the local chapters of the Sierra Club and Florida Native Plant Society.


She has been involved with Sierra Club for over two decades where she discovered a passion for the environment and conservation. For the local Turtle Coast Group, she led outings such as bike rides, clean ups at Turkey Creek Sanctuary, and canoe and camping trips. On a national level, she led 42 service field trips with 673 participants, which are estimated to have contributed over 16,000 work hours to national parks, including Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida; Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah; Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland; and Clair Tappaan Lodge, California. Work projects included eradication of invasive exotic plants, planting native plants, forest rehabilitation, trail building, and building maintenance.


Some of her awards for her contributions on behalf of the environment and conservation:

  • Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award, 2015
  • Sierra Club, 2013: One-Club Award, which honors Sierra Club members who have used outings as a way to protect or improve public lands, instill an interest in conservation, increase membership in the Sierra Club, or increase awareness of the Sierra Club
  • Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, 2012: Refuge Volunteer of the Year
  • Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, 2011: Great appreciation for ten years and one thousand hours of superior service
  • Pelican Island Audubon Society, 2011: Environmental Landscaping
  • Sierra Club National Outings, 2009 and 2007: One of the top leaders based on participants’ opinions of her exceptional leadership
  • Sierra Club Turtle Coast Group, 2007: Manatee Award for outstanding service


A few tributes from her friends:

  • “She was a strong support for a variety of environmental issues, a caring leader, and a loving friend. She was also a wonderful Mom and raised wonderful daughters.”
  • “Suzanne was a formidable woman. She was feisty, stubborn at times, and passionate about protecting the environment. She didn’t just pay lip service to it, she lived it every day. She was also a good friend that I was privileged to know along with her four wonderful daughters for over 20 years.”
  • “Suzanne was a whirlwind—she organized the trips, she kept everybody informed, she loved working to preserve natural and historic sites. She touched hundreds of people with her work. She was a wonderful friend.”


Suzanne is survived by her daughters Cynthia Johnsrud, Ann Johnsrud, Suzanne Johnsrud, and Camilla Johnsrud; her son-in-law Roland Verduyn (Ann); her daughter-in-law Peyton Creadick (Suzanne Jr.); her grandson Derek Johnsrud Verduyn (Ann); her granddaughter-in-law Nefretiri Rosario; and her great grandchildren Leonidas and Elara Verduyn. She is also survived by her sister Camilla Zimmermann and brother-in-law Jerry Zimmermann.


A celebration of life will likely be held in February 2023—her birth month.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Suzanne
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