One moment someone’s there.

Just behind this glass. Mopping in our new restaurant. I yelled, “Sue, you’re awesome!” And was ignored. Intentionally. Then louder, “SUE, you’re AWESOME!” This time a wave-off over the shoulder.

The next moment they’re gone.

A phone call. Terrible news. Heartache of the worst sort. Sue died in her sleep yesterday morning between the time her husband Ralph got up and did some yard work and the time he returned to check on her, thinking she’d slept in unusually long.

Just like that, she was gone.

My last words to Sue will stay with me forever. Because she was just that: awesome.

Of all the people I’ve had the privilege to know, she was one of the most selfless.

I learned that after she cleaned the restaurant Tuesday night, she insisted on going to clean New Life.

At 11:30pm.

Every dirty coffee mug. Every trash bin. Every dust bunny. No task was too insignificant. Because serving people and making atmosphere’s enjoyable was what she lived for. She’d never take a dime. Nor would she permit photographs. In every picture I have of her, she’s looking away.

This one below Jenny captured from a distance last year during a memorial walk for Michelle, her would-be daughter-in-law.

While tragedy has gripped the Marolf/Garland family far too frequent for my tastes, rarely have I admired such a loving and selfless tribe. She embodied the servant-nature of Jesus. That is more than I could ever hope to modle.

We miss you, Sue. ch:



shane marolf · 15 Sep ’11 at 9:16 pm

I have no words this is great–awesome thanks

    Christopher Hopper · 16 Sep ’11 at 6:56 am


    My life is better for having been touched by the Jesus in her. Honored to know you and work together for the Kingdom.

    Love you.


Esther Gonzalez-P · 15 Sep ’11 at 9:42 pm

Mis condolencias a toda su familia,no tengo palabras para desifrar su personalidad,una persona muy carinosa y pendiente de todo con un corazon lleno de amorpara todos suus hermanos que Dios la tenga en su gloria.

Michelle · 15 Sep ’11 at 10:12 pm

Well done, Sue. You finished the race, and fought the good fight! Oh, what joy to have you cheering ME on now, and oh what pain to not have you here for all who love you so much.

I hate death.

But there is One who hates it more.

The Deathless One died, and pulled out Death’s stinger with one scarred hand as He tore out the Graves victory with the other.

How He must be hugging you tight now, and laughing and cupping your face with those fine strong fingers.

I’ll be praying for your family though. I know they’d rather have had you here, a good while longer.

    Christopher Hopper · 16 Sep ’11 at 6:58 am

    I told the family I was jealous.

    She got to see Him face to face before me.

    What a grand appointment.

Beth Walrath · 15 Sep ’11 at 10:59 pm

I almost didn’t read this, knowing I would cry. But I’m glad I did, cause it’s not about me. Sue lived a life of no regrets, she gave life to people by her smile, her laughter & her over all wonderful personality.
Not even 3 weeks a part the world lost two amazing people. But heaven gained them. My heart is still broken from three weeks ago. Now with Sue leavin us for Jesus, my heart just cries out for those who might never meet Sue, if we don’t step up & continue the legacy.
God gave us gifts, talents & things to create, not on our time on His. Let’s do this thing & Show others how to party with Jesus.

Michael Collins · 16 Sep ’11 at 7:29 am

Chris: This is great-thanks for offering such a great tribute to Sue.

Jeremy · 16 Sep ’11 at 7:33 am

Wow…Love You CH

Will · 16 Sep ’11 at 9:49 am

I am taken to the first time that I heard the song, “I can only imagine”. I truly can only imagine what she is seeing and doing right now, and how fantastic it must be. I can also only imagine what her family and friends must be feeling right now. I am sad that I did not know her, as she sounds wonderful. I will rejoice for her, and pray for those who are left behind.

    Christopher Hopper · 16 Sep ’11 at 11:39 am

    It’s such a fitting song for this moment, isn’t it? I was just thinking of how incredible happy (euphoric) it must have been for her to hug Jesus for the first time Tuesday morning. I can’t even imagine. Thus I’d change the song: “I can’t even imagine, when all I will do…”

Jessica Moore · 16 Sep ’11 at 10:37 am

It has been about a year since I have seen Sue, but my memories of her are exactly as you described… Awesome! She always cared so much for others above herself. I will always remember her sweet hugs and kind words that truly showed Jesus inside her. She is the definition of servant, and you captured that so beautifully above. She will be missed so much, but you can see her footprints in all of our lives left behind.

    Christopher Hopper · 16 Sep ’11 at 11:38 am

    “…but you can see her footprints in all of our lives left behind.”

    That is such a beautiful statement. So true. Thank you for sharing.

Chriscian Fahey · 16 Sep ’11 at 8:01 pm

Eternity is but a heartbeat away and coming to terms with our mortality is a mark of both wisdom and sanity. A fitting tribute to a saint, the real deal. Thanks CKH. 🙂

    Christopher Hopper · 17 Sep ’11 at 11:07 am

    True words, Christian. It’s hard to do justice to someone as Christ-like as her in just one post.

Glade · 17 Sep ’11 at 2:09 pm

Wow. She sounds like a truly awesome person. I’ve had friends just like that: selfless, caring, loving, and suddenly they’re gone. It can hurt, but the joy of knowing they’re free from pain is stronger. God bless you, Miss Sue!

julie · 17 Sep ’11 at 3:26 pm

Thank you Christopher for putting into words, and speaking on behalf, of a truly LIVING TESTIMONY. BEAUTIFUL! BEAUTIFUL! Sue’s gift of hospitality, most certainly serves as a model and inspiration for all of us to follow and be so charged. She was a hand-picked choice of the Lord’s and we were blessed.
I believe she knew when she left the restaurant for New Life, that this was her last tour of duty to let her Light so shine. And shine it does. I know this because Sue always served like it was her last chance to serve and bless. I pray we all embrace Sue’s Christ-like example of quality in love & service, and give our best, like it’s our last. Giving our all time best… last. I pray Lord in FINISHING WELL! PRAISE JESUS!

I LOVE YOU! GOD BLESS YOU, INDEED! … as if it’s my last.

And Lord… I suspect You had Sue in mind when You had written… ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’ Matthew 25:21 & 23
[And… when I get to where I’m going, I’m heading over to the refreshment table for some coffee and Sugarland (- the coffee)].

    Christopher Hopper · 17 Sep ’11 at 3:35 pm

    “Sue always served like it was her last chance to serve and bless.”

    What true words. May that same Jesus-nature thrive in all those who follow after her. Thanks, Julie.

sharon seery · 14 Sep ’12 at 10:16 pm


    Christopher Hopper · 16 Sep ’12 at 4:30 am

    You’re welcome. She was an amazing lady. We were all blessed to know her.

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