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Susan Ptak

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Susan Ptak Obituary
Susan Grayson Ptak
2/13/1927 - 8/01/2015
…… because she's special!

Consistent with her faith, Susan partnered with Roland as founding members of three Episcopal Churches in Arizona. Starting in 1948 with All Saint's in a date barn on Central Avenue and then in 1958, Saint Barnabas in a quonset hut on 2nd Avenue, Scottsdale. They both served as lay readers, teachers, and Bible study leaders. In the 1980's they were asked to assist a mission effort of Saint Barnabas to help Saint Anthony's starting in a portable classroom at 134th St. & Shea Blvd. In the mid 60's Bishop Hart asked Susan to serve as church representative to the Navajo Nation at Fort Defiance in Window Rock, AZ. Countless truckloads of contributed supplies went from their home to the reservation. During this period due to her interest in education, Susan invited two reservation teenagers, Ben Begay and Steve Plummer, into her home, transitioning them from Cook's Christian Training School to Phoenix College. Steve became a minister later to emerge as the first Bishop to the Navajo Sioux Nations. Susan an only child, grew up on Long Island NY. with parents Robert Edwin Grayson and Margaret Soria Grayson. Susan's roots {a D.A.R.} run deep in American History. Ambrose Grayson, her paternal 5th Great Grandfather, started the Grayson legacy in Spotsylvania, Virginia in 1732. His son William Grayson, became a General in Washington's army. After his son, Del Grayson, came son, William Finks Grayson, Susan's. Great Grandfather, rose to the rank of Coronal in the Civil War, He later started A Newspaper in Front Royal, Virginia. Robert E. Lee Grayson, Susan's Grandfather, worked on the newspaper later to move to California where built the Grayson Glove Factory. His wife Susan's Grandmother, Corene Uuzell, a beautiful creole women became a famous silent movie star. Susan's father, Robert Edwin Grayson carried on the newspaper tradition moving to New York City wherein he spent 45 years building the library and research departments of the New York Herald Tribune. After the newspaper stopped publishing, he remained the last employee with the responsibility of donating the vast treasure of books, documents, files, microfilm, news clipping etc., to various learning institutions around the country. Graduating from Bryant High School, Susan enrolled in the well- known university, prestigious in the field of art, Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she met Roland Ptak, a WW2 Navy Pilot veteran. They graduated together, in 1946. A wedding with family and friends attending took place in , the Actor's Chapel of the The Church of The Transfiguration in Manhattan, aka, "The Little Church Around The Corner". While both were employed in the advertising field, the newlyweds resided in Bronxville, N Y, Due to Roland's wartime physical issues it was necessary to seek a drier climate. The young couple, with their year old daughter Laurie-Sue, and with son Jeff soon to arrive moved to Arizona in October, 1948. In the early '50s the Ptaks settled in an orange grove in north Phoenix district. While Susan concentrated on raising their young family, which grew to four, Roland launched his career with the Arizona Republic & Gazette. From that point on to present time, Susan's life exemplified one dedicated to family, church, community service, giving generously of her time with creative effort in the fields of the Arts, Arizona History, Education and Scouting. While three of her children were in college Susan went back to school and graduated from ASU with a Bachelor of Arts degree. The recognition and cudos she was awarded over the years are too numerous to mention here. With seemingly an inexhaustible, supply of energy, Susan, managed to find the time during the last 65 years, to partner with Roland in building three very successful businesses in Arizona. One of these companies was an award winning advertising agency, another as licensed Brokers, was a high producing real estate firm in Fountain llills. The third a chain of childcare centers called American Pre-Schools in Tucson. These activities gave the Ptaks the opportunity to associate, intimately, with many of Arizona's top industry leaders. Somewhere in the super structure of Shea North Hospital, now called Honor Heath, Susan and Roland's signatures are on a beam signed at ground breaking day. They were given this honor having a principal role in organizing a fund raising team to build the hospital. Susan served for nine years as a volunteer in the ER, a duty she loved. One of the most edifying was their having a close relationship in expanding the "Young Life" program in the State. All of their children and grandchildren were active members enjoying weekly meetings and camp programs, some engaged as leaders. The Ptak family includes, children; Dr. Laurie-Sue Retts, (Dr, Bill), Dr. Jeffrey Ptak, {Toni), Kim Ptak (Sheryl) and Leslie Baker. The Ptaks proudly boast of their seven grandchildren, Treyson Ptak, Aaron Retts, (Tina), Ashley Ryan (TJ.), Nicholas Jeffrey Ptak, Kieran Dallison Baker, Kinzer Baker, Samantha Geldworth (Ely), and five great grandchildren, Jack Ryan, Sam Ryan, Keaton Daniel Retts, Ainsley June Retts and Greyson Goldworth. Most reside in Arizona. A celebration of Susan's life will be held 3PM, August 22nd, 2015 at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church located at 6715 North Mockingbird Lane Scottsdale. AZ. Phone: 480 948 5560.


Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 19, 2015
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