TUESDAY. MARCH 05. 2024   
Remembering Suzette

Suzette Lorraine Moore Benn
February 16, 1946 – February 01, 2007

Big M” was the nickname I affectionately called my Mother.  Never has a nickname rang more true for an individual.  “Big M” wasn’t just my Mother, she was My best friend, My biggest fan, My rock of support, My shoulder to cry on, My teacher, My role model, My inspiration. 

In the all too brief 60 years that she was on this earth my Mother did more than many people do in two lifetimes.  More than just affecting my life, I know she affected the lives of each of you.  My Mother was a positive spirit, a selfless person who derived more joy from helping others as opposed to helping herself.  Whether you were her daughter, sister, brother, aunt, or cousin, whether you were one of her friends from Bishops’ High School, the Links or West Hartford, whether you were one of her colleagues from the State Health Dept., the Urban League or Community Health Services, I’m sure each of you have fond memories of my Mother.  The one request I have for each of you is that you hold onto those memories of my Mother.  Remember the lessons she taught you, remember how much fun you had together, remember that shining smile, remember how she lit up a room whenever she walked into it and remember her signature “thumbs up” move.  There will never, ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about “Big M” and all that she meant to me.  I miss her dearly, but I know in my heart she’s with me all the time and eventually we’ll be reunited once again. 

A person as special as my Mother only comes around once in a lifetime, although we’ll all miss her greatly, we were all truly blessed to have the privilege of knowing and loving such a special person.   

Highlights of a Personal Journey

Suzette Lorraine Moore was born on February 16, 1946, in Georgetown, British Guiana, the second child of Joseph (Joe) Nathaniel Moore , the deceased and former compositor of  The Chronicle newspaper of British Guiana and Victoria Rosalind Moore.  She is the granddaughter of Muriel Agatha Nurse and Samuel David Nurse, both deceased. Suzette was baptized at Salem Congregational Church and confirmed at St. Sidwell’s Anglican Church at age 14. For secondary education, Suzette was one of few girls selected to attend Guiana’s premier secondary school for “Ladies”, The Bishops’ High School, founded by Clergy and laymen of the Anglican Diocese of British Guiana.  After graduation from Bishops’ Suzette taught at St. Joseph’s High School and West Ruimveldt Government School before exploring higher education. She was the first in her family to leave Guyana (the country’s new name after its independence from colonialism) to attend a university in the United States of America.

A general strike in Guyana forced the schools to close for ninety days. Suzette, the kind, caring person we have come to know, volunteered to teach her brother and his friends Biology so that they would not fall behind in their studies. Because of this, several of them, credit her for helping them pass their final exams. During difficult times (such as the passing of her father), Suzette found strength and companionship in her ‘adopted’ sister and cousin Claudette.

She matriculated at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa but graduated from Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, Illinois with a BA in Biological Sciences and subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, where she was named the “Outstanding Environmental Health Graduate Student for 1972.

Suzette had two sisters (Carole and Grace) and one brother (Jimmy) and an ‘adopted’ older sister (her cousin Claudette) whom she loved as much as she loved life itself. She taught her siblings, by example, many life lessons including the importance and priority of a great education, sharing, community service, diplomacy, and the balancing of work and play.  


Professional and Community Service

Suzette led an accomplished professional life working in several states and three countries (Jamaica, Canada and the United States). She served the State of Connecticut Department of Health for over 15 years in increasingly visible and important positions including two years as former Governor Lowell Wicker’s Special Assistant for Health Affairs and the Urban League of Greater Hartford’s Director of Community Health. Outside of work, Suzette dedicated time serving on the Board of Directors of Hartford Hospital, President of Farmington Valley Chapter of the Links, Inc. and with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Heart Association and American Red Cross. She volunteered or was volunteered (because she had difficulty saying no) to several charitable programs and activities including wrapping gifts for the elderly and preparing mail outs for Trinity Church’s distribution of the Voice. She was the recipient of several awards including the Distinguished Alumna at the University of Massachusetts, State of Connecticut Manager of the Year, and the Health Promotion Award of Excellence, Centers for Disease Control. Her numerous publications include “Health Status of New England’s Minority and Low Income Population” and “The Urban Environment, Implications for Health”.      

Precious Moments with Family and Friends

Suzette was blessed with a son on July 15, 1975, whom she and husband Orrin, named Bradlee. As with all her other responsibilities, she took parenting seriously. She and her son had an extremely close loving relationship and a special bond with and to each other. She spent ten active years on the PTA, and co-chaired the Parent’s Graduation Committee for the dance and chaperone (poor Brad!!!). She was extremely proud of Brad, her only son, and all his accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the corporate boardrooms and never hesitated to share ALL the details with her friends and family (kudos Brad).

In August of 2002, at the first-ever Moore’s Family reunion, Suzette played a key role in making sure the Guyanese family left the reunion with lots of clothing, shoes, toys, school supplies, books, games and food. Family members still, have many fond memories. Suzette finally got the chance to meet her half-sister Barbara (from her father’s earlier marriage) with whom she developed a great relationship that lasted until death separated them. Her half-brother Compton died before they formally met.
If you missed Suzette’s 60th Throwback Birthday Party, you missed some very precious moments with family and friends that lasted an entire weekend. Suzette’s wish to party in Sunny South Florida, in February 2006 was granted. She and her close friends and family dressed, danced and ate like the good ole’ days of the 1960’s and 70’s. Those who attended will not soon forget the reminiscing and new memories of that weekend in Pinecrest.

Later that year, in May 2006, Suzette welcomed her new daughter-in-law into her immediate family circle when Brad married the former Jennifer Williams. Two more of her wishes would come true as Suzette walked, unassisted, down the aisle AND danced at her son’s wedding. There probably was not a dry eye in the house after that memorable Mother/Son dance.

Suzette was a beautiful, intelligent, elegant, fun-loving girl who made friends easily and kept many of them for a lifetime. She was as unselfish with her time as she was with her talents and treasurers. She remembered all the ‘little’ details such as birthdays of her friends’ children, anniversaries of their parents and even the fragrance of perfume they liked. 

Bradlee Alexander Benn and the entire Moore family, thank and recognize the many dear friends and family members attending this “celebration” for our beloved Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, and Cousin Suzette.

Specifically, we recognize family members who left their jobs, clients and patients and traveled from several states and foreign countries including Missouri, Maryland, South Carolina, New York, Texas, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, Canada, England, and Guyana.

Suzette’s many friends, from her rich, varied and global life are here today to shower her with their love and affection once again. We recognize the presence today of Suzette’s childhood friends and neighbors since the 1940’s and 1950’s; Living members of her inner circle of high school friends; College roommates and a professor who have been mentors, admirers, advisors and friends from the 1960’s and beyond; Supervisors, colleagues, co-workers, and staff employees from as far back as the 1970’s; The sisterhood of West Hartford, aka ‘The Birthday Ladies’ who have been a pentagonal support group since the 1980’s; Community leaders, public servants, and members of her corporate and philanthropic network are also here today to pay their respects.

“Occasionally in life, there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by inaudible language of the heart” (Martin Luther King Jr., 1964 upon receiving the Nobel Peace prize). We have such a moment today. You’ve expressed your LOVE FOR SUZETTE by your presence here today and we Love You For Loving HER SO MUCH!!!


Suzette is survived by her son Bradlee, her mother Victoria, adopted sister Claudette, sisters Barbara, Carole and Grace, brother Jimmy, seven nephews and three nieces all of whom sincerely thank you for being here to wish Suzette a fond farewell.  Each of you played a significant role in Suzette’s life and we truly appreciate you being here.  We know she’s looking down at this service and smiling that so many of you were able to make the service. 

Additionally, we would like to thank all of you who have offered and/or loaned your support.  Your efforts delivering food, lending cars, and providing accommodations means a lot to our family during what is the most difficult period in our lives.  The upcoming days, weeks and months will be difficult for our family and so we cordially ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Finally, we thank all of you who sent flowers, cards, CDs, visited and prayed for Suzette during her illness.  All your efforts were such a joy for Suzette and played a large role in keeping her spirits up during this debilitating illness. 

One of the greatest tributes you can do to honor Suzette is to keep your fond memories and thoughts of her alive.  Please don’t ever forget her…. we never will. 

In the darkest of night shone a solitary star, beauteous to all from near and a far Sixty years it lasted; And now it’s no more,
But to those who experienced its beauty, its radiance will last forever
Suzette you are that star,
Your love, kindness, compassion and generosity will be with us forever.” Orrin Benn